Saturday, August 13, 2022

Best travel hacks to use when traveling


With vacation time fast approaching and your suitcase packed and airport chaos hopefully avoided, all that is left for you to do is board the flight…Right?

Well, there are actually some essential steps that you should take in order to ensure that your trip goes as smoothly as possible. For the things that are within your control, these tech travel hacks recommended by Schnell,a bespoke UK tech company, can help make travel safe and enjoyable.

Take photos of your travel documents 

You always need identification when travelling, but it’s also wise to have a digital backup. If you lose your wallet or it’s stolen, getting to and from your destination will be smoother if you have photos of all your important documents. 

Passports, vaccination documents
and travel details should be
kept in your phone as well as
paper copies. 

The easy way to do that on an iPhone is to use the handy document scanner built into the native notes app. On an Android device, you can take photos of documents and mark them as favorites in your gallery. This removes the hassle of searching for documents in your luggage. 

You can also save identifying documents as PDF files and transfer copies to other devices, such as a Kindle.  Then you will be able to access documentation offline, especially useful when you don’t have a secure internet connection.

There are many kinds of tracking
devices at all price points.

Keep track of your belongings 

Losing your belongings is devastating and can leave travelers stressed out when they should be relaxing. To combat this, use a digital tracker to help you keep up with your valuables and track them if you lose anything. These trackers can be used on laptops, phones, wallets, keys, and luggage. 

There are many different types of trackers that can be used, some will be Bluetooth and others will use GPS. A quick search on Amazon will provide you with trackers at a range of prices so you can ensure the safety of your items even on a limited budget. 

Have multiple access to boarding passes 


In addition to printing paper boarding passes, include the digital option. Log in to the airline’s website and ask them to email your boarding pass. It’s also a good idea to download your airline’s app to access it additional information about your flight.

Make use of a GPS to map your route

Your phone can be an excellent GPS to provide navigation details and traffic details. It can help you avild long traffic queues and alleviate navigation issues in a destination that you are unfamiliar with.
Apps such as citymapper can  reduce the chances of getting lost.  

Smartphones offer
excellent GPS systems.

Booking your stay

For peak travel times book well in advance by using one of the apps that are available to search for accommodation in different locations. Make sure you check the reviews before booking. Loyalty programs will help you save money on accommodations. For example, you can use expedia points or booking.com’s genius program for extra discounts. 

Loyalty programs can save

money on hotels and car rentals.

Load your playlist 

When travelling, there will be periods where you are bored waiting in queues or on a layover. Create a personalized Spotify playlist and download podcasts, and you will never be bored!

For accessing on a plane, it is important to have playlists, podcasts, and films downloaded so you can access them offline. Even better, make your entertainment productive by listening to a travel podcast about your destination. 

One bit of tech looming on the horizon is the electronic driving license, so keep an eye out for it.

Information courtesy of Schnell, www.bespoke software development.com

from Eve Loffman, eveloffman@journalistic.org


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Thursday, July 21, 2022

Check out historic flying boats at this Irish museum

If you visit the Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula in the southern coastal region of Ireland-- probably the most popular tourist destinations in that country—be sure to stop at the Foynes Flying Boat Museum in County Limerick.

Here you’ll learn about the nostalgic era when Foynes was the center of the aviation world, from 1939 to 1945.

From seaport to air port

The small town of Foynes was an important sea port since 1846 because of its sheltered natural harbor 30 miles from the Atlantic Ocean and 24 miles from Limerick City. Early in World War II, as aviation became an important strategy, the quiet town on the Shannon River estuary was transformed into a major international air base.

After Charles Lindberg landed the first solo non-stop trans-Atlantic flight in 1927, there was hope for establishing commercial flights across the ocean.  It was a treacherous journey because planes didn’t have instruments in those days; courageous pilots navigated by sight.

In 1933 Pan Am Airlines asked Lindberg to recommend the best routes. He chose the coast of Ireland as a destination point, landing on the River Shannon, the longest river in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England. Amazingly, this feat was accomplished in spring of 1937.

Eight more round trips during the summer of 1937 proved this was a feasible operation, although there were still problems carrying enough fuel. Numerous options were tried including a double-decker plane similar to a rocket booster that separated after the main plane was aloft. That was unsuitable for passenger travel, so it only carried mail. Eventually, an American plane flew east from Newfoundland, while the British took off westward from Foynes. The two planes crossed mid-Atlantic, so neither could claim the first commercial flight.

During the peak time, Foynes was the stepping stone between Europe and North America and supported 35 flights a week. Celebrities, kings and queens, and politicians passed through Foynes on their trans-Atlantic flights.

The river as runway

Because there was no land-based runway, planes landed on the river and became known as “flying boats.” It was a very labor intensive operation because a pathway of flares had to be set on the water to guide the flying boats on landing. Local farmers were hired to ride into the villages and blow a bugle to signal when a flying boat was due in, so the flares could be set in time. The last scheduled flight from the Shannon River took off in October 1945, ending the flying boat era, although chartered flights continued till 1949.



The Foynes Flying Boat Museum is housed in the original terminal building. It opened in 1989 and features the only full scale replica of an early Boeing B314 in world.  Visitors can walk through this model, which boasts a 14-seat blue dining room from which freshly prepared seven-course meals were served to passengers—true luxury, indeed. Each pampered passenger had a regular bed, and their shoes were polished by stewards as they slept. Flight tickets during the World War II years cost $5000 one-way, and the flight lasted 16-18 hours, so only the wealthy--and adventurous--dared fly the route.

But it was fun to imagine being on this journey, a precursor to our modern-day air travels.  

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Hotel Metropole, oldest in Bellagio, Italy, still charms visitors

Although it’s possible to drive all the way to Bellagio, a village on a promontory jutting into Lake Como in Italy, it’s quicker, safer, and more lovely to take a ferry. At the town of Mennagio on the western bank of Lake Como, we boarded the large ferry that transports cars as well as people and crowded in with all the other passengers for our first introduction to the magical city that inspired glitzy Las Vegas.

View of Lake Como from our room at Hotel Metropole

Even though we had a map and GPS, finding the hotel we had booked online wasn’t easy—until we did find it, and then the location was surprisingly perfect. From the balcony of our room, we breathed in fresh Alpine air and inhaled the magnificent views of glimmering water sheltered by surrounding mountains and hills. As the evening sun set, we watched ferry boats come and go from our lakeside balcony and toasted our romantic getaway with a glass of Chardonnay purchased just minutes before in the nearby historic shopping district.

Hotel Metropole has aged beautifully.

Hotel Metropole, an elegant pink-toned monolithic building on the waterfront, dates to 1721, making it the oldest in Bellagio. As usually happens, the town of Bellagio developed on the lake, and until 1900 most houses overlooked the harbor. Originally a house, the hotel later became an inn and shelter for travelers coming to what was a remote area. A photograph from 1871 (electric lights were not installed until 1888) shows a beautiful building with a covered porch overlooking Lake Como.

The hotel changed hands many times but had an English owner during the mid-1990s who sparked its growth to an international clientele before selling the hotel to an Italian entrepreneur. Although the hotel has been renovated several times, during our visit a few years ago, we saw a mix of traditional and modern designs that are well-suited to Americans’ tastes (it is non-smoking, has a breakfast buffet, and includes Wi-Fi), At that time the original three-person elevator was still the only way to get to upper floors unless you take the stairs.

Gardens in the village

Original plaster ceilings and Liberty-style glass doors of the panoramic dining hall remained, and old floor tiles of local Pognana stone on the terrace overlooking the lake were kept in place. We also enjoyed other original features include decorative balustrades and floral gratings from the hotel’s early days. Hotel Metropole recently underwent additional restoration. All rooms are individually air conditioned, have private facilities, television, minibar, safe, and hairdryer.

Situated in the center of Bellagio, it is the only hotel in the village with a direct view onto Lake Como, and that includes all rooms. At the roof-top garden guests lounge, read, or sunbathe while enjoying incredible views of the shimmering lake.

View from roof top garden

Outside, purchase an ice cream or coffee at the gelateria in front, or dine at award-winning Terrazca, the adjacent restaurant where hotel guests receive a discount on meals in addition to enjoying a panorama of lake, rolling, hills, mountains, and sky.

Very Italian walkway to shops and restaurants

The hotel is located at Piazza Mazzini, Bellagio’s historic center.  From the square you’ll see characteristic Italian steps and narrow winding streets that lead to shops, galleries, and restaurants and a tourist office where you can book boat rides on the lake and other excursions. Its excellent location and an impressive combination of Mediterranean and Alpine scenery make Hotel Metropole one of the most charming places to stay in Bellagio.

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier



Wednesday, June 29, 2022

How to be frugal but have fun on vacation

The summer of 2022 seems to be a rebound time for travelers. With so many people having enhanced immunity, either by vaccination, having had Covid, or both, worries about isolating, masking, or getting sick appear to be waning in people’s minds. And, thankfully, a Covid test is no longer required to enter the U.S.

Spiraling inflation coupled with increased interest in traveling, both domestic and international, means prices are increasing for lodging, gasoline, flights, cruises, and more. You still long to go somewhere, but you don’t want to scrimp unnecessarily to the point that staying home is the better option.

So what can you do to make your trip more budget-friendly, to avoid a credit card bill full of vacation splurges? Planning ahead is absolutely necessary, if you hope to be a frugal traveler.


Check your credit card(s) for perks:
If you have hotel or airline credit cards or one of the higher priced preferred cards from major companies, you probably have credits, miles, or points that can be used to pay for lodging, flights, or car rentals. For a week-long trip last spring, we used hotel points for every night that we were on the road, so no extra cash was needed at the time of our stays. We recently returned from a family trip for which flights were booked with credit card points. Hotel upgrades are often available to those with loyalty cards, too. Even if a credit card has an annual fee, the value you receive can easily offset that amount.


Book local:
Often you can find a good deal by booking independent or local hotels rather than national brands. Airbnb or Vbro may provide a savings if you plan to stay more than a week in the same place.

Save on transportation: Car and truck rentals have been in short supply, and these can be expensive when available Prices doubled from May 2020 to May 2021 according to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ride-sharing services have fewer drivers and increased prices in many cases, too.


 If you must rent, try to arrange your itinerary so you only need a rental car for part of your stay. If you’re in a city, plan to stay near attractions you want to visit. A well-located hotel (use those points!) can save money since you can walk to destinations or to public transit. Walking is a great way to slow down and feel the pulse of a city, take an impromptu detour, or explore a new find.  It’s also healthy.

Skip the souvenirs: You probably don’t need a trinket or T-shirt that promotes the place you visited. These lose excitement the day after you return home. If you do need a reminder, try shopping at a grocery store rather than expensive souvenir shops as these often have better prices for the same items. 


Take plenty of photos and make a photo book or video to share with friends later. They will enjoy that more than a refrigerator magnet that doesn’t have meaning for them, and you'll have another dose of fun every time you reminisce about your trip.

Photos by Larry Burmeier and free sources. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Tea time at Lake Louise

Morning reflections on Lake Louise

Classic hikes at Lake Louise in Banff National Park in Canada will take you on trails to either Lake Agnes Teahouse or Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse.  We chose to hike the Lake Agnes trail on the recommendation of the tourism office and other hikers we had met in Banff the night before.

Mirror Lake lives up to its name.

The Plain of Six Glaciers provides panoramic views of glaciated peaks in the Canadian Rockies on a trail that’s 3.3 miles versus 2.2 miles for Lake Agnes, but the estimated time for each hike is 90 minutes one way. The difference is that there’s less elevation gain for the Plain of Six Glaciers, so it’s a bit easier on the legs. At the top is a rustic teahouse serving homemade goodies baked on a wooden stove—much as when it was first constructed by the Canadian Pacific Railway in the early 1900s.

Lake Agnes waterfall

The Lake Agnes Trail, labeled moderately strenuous in my guidebook, starts in front of the Fairmont Lake Louise Chateau.  (Plan to arrive before 10:00 a.m. as the parking lot fills quickly). The trail climbs steeply for the first 1.6 miles, switch-backing through a forest of fir and spruce. It levels off at Mirror Lake, a wonderfully scenic spot that appears just when you need a break.

Near the end of the trail, just below the teahouse, a beautiful waterfall flows out of Lake Agnes, gushing over a series of rocks with a refreshing spray. The trail concludes in a series of steps leading to the historic tea house that overlooks the lake and valley.

Not having brought snacks (bear warnings all around) we were hungry, so it was a good thing we arrived in time for lunch--homemade tuna, peanut butter, or cheese sandwiches. An assortment of hot teas is available and would taste terrific on a cold day, but we were looking for something chilled after our uphill trek. Unfortunately, there’s no ice (everything has to be packed in to the teahouse), so we settled for drinking the water in our backpacks.

 Lake Agnes Teahouse

Slightly revived, we headed out for another six-tenths of a mile on a fairly steep path to Little Beehive (the longer trail to Big Beehive, a distinctively rounded mountain, joins up with the Plain of Six Glaciers trail in the opposite direction). New vantage points provided impressive views looking back at Bow Valley, Lake Louise, and the Fairmont Lake Louise Chateau.  The return 3-mile trip went much faster as our memory cards were already loaded with hundreds of images—and we resisted the urge to add more.

Mountain view along Lake Louise

There’s no better way to appreciate the stunning sights of the region than on one of these hikes. Being photo hounds who savored our lunch break, the entire excursion took us about five hours.  Naturally, we were ready for wine and cheese on our return to the Post Hotel.

 

Friday, June 10, 2022

Thrills at the mighty Iguazu Falls

We’re walking on the Lower Falls Trail at Iguazu Falls inArgentina, looping along connecting paths, all the while gawking at the indescribably beautiful cascades of water roaring over walls of rock and plunging into the Iguazu River below. It’s a moody, mystical scene reminiscent of Niagara or Victoria Falls—but the enormity of Iguazu Falls dwarfs both.

Powerful waterfalls in every direction

Water pours magnificently over huge black boulders into the abyss below. At places the rocks gleam like yellow gold under the flowing froth. Mist rises high above the ledges obscuring everything behind it; then it dissipates and plumes again even higher, casting a haze over the entire landscape.

As huge sprays of water shoot like geysers into the air, a chorus of “oohs” and “ahhs” from the crowds of people on the walkway reflect the amazement shared by onlookers who are jostling for space by the railings and unobstructed views. On this September day, the sun occasionally peeks out, but mostly the weather is cloudy and pleasant--perfect for taking pictures, which we do often.

Although I had heard about Iguazu Falls, I could not visualize the sheer numbers of thundering waterfalls—and the incredible maze of concrete and steel pathways that allow visitors to experience the spectacle in such a close and personal venue. Travel brochures don’t come close to conveying the scope of the gigantic water-drops or the immensity of the site in this national park.

Getting soaked on land


One path is specially designed to take brave souls into the pounding spray, a most spectacular sight if you can keep your balance and your eyes open in the forceful wind and water.  We don ponchos before walking to the end of the path, knowing we’ll be thoroughly drenched in seconds. Of course, the spray carries for some distance. Having felt it on our approach we had stashed all but the waterproof camera in dry bags. (Eager for more thrills, I do this again on another day of our visit).

Getting soaked by boat

We then scurry down a rock path studded with pink periwinkles and purple, white, and yellow flowers of various shapes and textures on our way down to the river. That’s where our next adventure begins--a boat ride with Iguazu Jungle that takes us under the falls. It’s an exciting and risky-looking excursion, although apparently it’s safer that it appears on first glance. On reaching the bottom of the path, we’re issued life jackets and dry bags for our backpacks and gear—and then wait for our turn to board the boat.


To make up for an uncommonly long delay, the speedboat driver gives us even more thrills than usual. First, we go toward the waterfall of St. Martin’s Island, the second largest one. Then we bounce and lurch closer, retreat, and go back in even closer. I’m soaked and water is pouring over my face.


As if that isn’t enough to get our adrenalin pumping, the driver zooms back to the main river and then takes the boat around the bend to another thundering waterfall inside Devil’s Throat Canyon, screeching the powerboat as he drives further into the spray. We’re almost directly under the pounding falls, and I can’t open my eyes. The boat is in rock and roll mode, so I simply hold the camera high and snap away, hoping for a few good photos. Finally, we head back to the dock, a bit wobbly but thoroughly exhilarated by what we’ve just done.

It’s late afternoon when we return to the pier, and a chill is settling in the air, so Larry and I head back to the hotel for dry clothes and dinner in the restaurant.

Photos by Larry and Beverly  Burmeier

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Must-see natural wonders of the world



Frequent travelers have their favorite destinations, and it’s not always the best known places that capture one’s sense of wonder.  Still, there are special sites that always seem to attract visitors—and for good reason. Here are a few that you should put on your lifetime bucket list:

Victoria Falls—Fed by the Zambezi River that runs between Zambia and Zimbabwe in Africa (the Falls are visible from both sides), Victoria Falls is the tallest and widest waterfall in the world. During the wet season dense mist fills the area as water plunges through the gorge to the canyon below. In the drier season beautiful rainbows sparkle through fog, giving rise to the name local tribes used for Victoria Falls many years ago, “smoke that thunders.” For the super-adventurous, try bungee jumping from the bridge that connects the two countries or go whitewater rafting on the Zambezi River—memories that last forever!

Ngorongoro Crater—When the upper two-thirds of a towering volcano collapsed into its base, the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, Africa was created. It is the world’s largest unbroken caldera, often called “Africa’s Garden of Eden” because of the immense variety of plant and animal life concentrated there. Descending into the crater, which encompasses more than 100 square miles of desert, grasslands, forests, lakes, and streams, is tricky business—driving best left to professional guides. Animals, including elephants, that live in the crater typically stay their entire lives because leaving the region is too difficult.


Redwood National Forest—
The world’s tallest trees grow in Northern California, some reaching 200 feet tall and 20 feet in diameter.  It’s hard to imagine that the average age of these redwoods is 600 to 700 years old. Wander along numerous foot paths or take a wagon ride to marvel at these huge and ageless plant specimens.

Grand Canyon—The enormous gorge is a testimony to the power of wind and water that cut through and eroded rock to form a beautiful and intriguing geological wonder. Carved during millions, if not billions, of years by the Colorado River (a flowing ribbon at the bottom), this massive canyon measures 277 miles long, one mile deep, and four to 18 miles wide. 

It offers dramatic views and brilliant colors during sunrise and sunset. Explore the area on accessible rim trails, hike or ride on mules down into the canyon, or raft on the Colorado River in an unforgettable multi-day camping adventure.


Glacier Bay National Park
—Many Inside Passage cruises to Alaska venture into Glacier Bay for a look at the panoramic coastline sparkling with massive glaciers and deep fjords. If you’re lucky, you may glimpse marine life such as whales, porpoises, or otters drifting on chunks of ice that float in the water.  Small ships can venture closer than big ocean liners, but even the big ships provide guests with amazing views of snow-capped mountains and icebergs. It’s a sight that often draws visitors back for another visit.

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier

 

Saturday, May 28, 2022

An iconic hike in the Italian Dolomites

Driving from Corvara to Tre Cime hike

Tre Cime di Lavarado was our final hike in the Sexten Dolomites of northeastern Italy, one of the best-known mountain groups in the Alps. Although there are many trails throughout the mountains, Tre Cime is one of the must-do hikes for capable explorers.

After warming up with shorter hikes around Lake Braies and Cinque Torri (both very scenic), we finished our time in this beautiful mountain range on a trail that circumnavigates the Three Peaks that symbolize L’Alta Pusteria Valley. Known as Cima Grande, Cima Occidentale, and Cime Piccola, these colossal mountains provide ample panoramic views on the iconic 6.2-mile loop.

Breathtaking beauty!

Our driver met us very early in the morning at Hotel La Perla, where we spent five nights. Located in Corvara in the Alta Badia region this cute town lies in the shadow of the Dolomites.

Colorful flowers contrasted with the stark winding roads as we drove through the foothills of the mountains, paths punctuated with tiny villages along the way. White clouds and blue sky provided amazing background for the jagged limestone mountains.

Jagged peaks in the mountain range

After an hour and a half drive we arrived at Refuge Auronzo, the starting point for our hike. A wide, relatively flat trail connects Rifugio Auronzo with Rifugio Lavaredo. Within an hour of walking, the valley in front of Tre Cime opened up, and the north side of the Three Peaks came into view. What a sight to see all three majestic mountains side by side, an imposing UNESCO World Heritage Site. With their sharp-cornered ridges and dramatic peaks, the Dolomites are unlike any other mountain range we have seen.

A perfect place for lunch

We stopped to eat our packed lunch at a hut that was dwarfed beneath the imposing peaks. A short walk from there took us to a spot that proved perfect for capturing the scenery. 

First look at Tre Cime
At this point, Larry decided to hike back to the starting point with Gerhard, our driver and guide. Beverly and our friend Deb continued on the hike around Tre Cime with our other guide.

The three of us walked down into the valley and followed a narrow trail that provided excellent views of the three peaks and more. 

Some hiking challenges

Our trekking poles came in handy as we navigated rocks and other challenges on the trail. As is often the case, it’s hard to really describe the immensity and ruggedness of the terrain.

A surprising sight at Tre Cime
Pink, purple, and blue flowers dotted the late summer landscape and softened the bare peaks that stretched towards the clouds. We even saw cows grazing on green grass that magnified the beauty of the land. We felt truly blessed for the opportunity be outside soaking in the God-made beauty of this route.
Limestone skirts the peaks

As if that wasn’t enough awesomeness, our guide led us off the path to a stunning lake, a hidden gem that he knew about from years of hiking this popular path. The day was absolutely perfect for photos with the sun in an excellent position to provide clear reflections in the water. We stopped for a brief snack and short rest while admiring the view.

A perfect day for our hike!

But there was more, our guide led us to a second lake, and again the sunshine gave us beautiful reflections. We walked further in the meadow to a third lake before heading back to the trail and and uphill trek to finish the hike in the parking area near where we started.

The second lake also had great reflections.

It was an unforgettable adventure that we’ll always remember when we think of the Italian Dolomites.

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier

Friday, May 20, 2022

Reasons to love Lake Travis


Summer is approaching rapidly. Central Texas is likely to hit a scorching 100 degrees in mid-May. So what is the best antidote to the heat? The cooling waters of Lake Travis!

Located on the western edge of Austin, Lake Travis is a reservoir formed in 1942 when the Lower Colorado River Authority constructed Mansfield Dam to contain floodwaters in a flash-flood prone region. Although the average depth is 62 feet, the deepest part of the lake extends to 210 feet. Today, the lake is popular for various recreational opportunities. And there’s a special magic in watching the sun set over glistening water.

Boating is the first activity that comes to mind, primarily because it doesn’t require any special athletic skills. Of course, knowledge of safe boating practices and lake terrain are imperative. That said, everyone can enjoy a ride on the winding 64-mile long lake. If you add in the myriad coves, the coastline stretches to 271 miles of peaceful spaces to explore or just drop anchor and enjoy a relaxing swim.


If you have a boat, there are about two dozen ramps where you can put in. If you don’t have a boat, check at any of more than 20 marinas and businesses for rentals. While you’re at it, rent a large tube and take the youngsters for a ride behind the boat. It’s a little bouncy, but they love the challenge of hanging on when the boat driver spins a few figure eights in the water.

Water sports. Once you have a boat to access Lake Travis, there are numerous water sports to try. Start with water skiing, which is probably the basis for newer sports like wakeboarding, knee boarding, or wake surfing. Water skiing is fairly easy to learn, especially with two skis. It’s such a thrill when you learn to cross the wake of the boat, then jump the wake, or just hang on for a multi-mile ride. If you become proficient you can advance to slalom skiing (one ski). 


Lake Travis is well suited for great wakeboarding since the water is generally smooth and traffic light, especially early in the morning or towards evening. There are plenty of open stretches for learning and practicing tricks, if you’re so inclined. If balance is an issue, consider knee boarding, since there’s a lower center of gravity and a tow rope to hang on to--great sport for kids who are still testing their water bravery.

Once these sports are mastered, it’s time to catch a wave. With the right boat and board, you can actually surf a wave on this inland lake, no rope needed. Yes, it takes good balance, but it’s a premier sport for those with access to the right equipment and no fear.


Fly boarding is gaining popularity with young people. Wearing a pair of boots attached to a board, the fly boarder is propelled into the air via power from thousands of gallons of water exploding through a tube. It’s like being on stilts above the water. Expert fly boarders get propelled high in the air to do amazing flips and tricks. It does take practice, but after a few lessons you may decide fly boarding is an incredible experience.


Scuba diving. Because Lake Travis is very deep, there are many hidden treasures below the surface. Grottoes, shipwrecks, old cars, even underwater trees attract scuba divers to the lake’s depths. Submerged areas such as Oasis Wall, Fiesta Haus Wall, Wreck Alley, and Starnes Island intrigue scuba divers, but you can also dive from shore at Mansfield Dam Park and Windy Point Park.


Although the lake is buttressed by tall limestone walls, if the water level is low, you might find a few spots of sandy beach at Pace Bend Park. The important thing to remember when in the water is that land can drop off suddenly, so you should wear a life jacket if you’re not a strong swimmer (required at all times for children under age 14). 

Always practice caution and common sense and you'll have hours of fun on beautiful Lake Travis.

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier