Tag Archives: Travel

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Eight National Parks to Visit this Week

McKall Morris
Corporate Communications Manager

National parks stretch across the United States, and each has a diverse landscape, incredible history and makes for an unforgettable trip. With so many to choose from, here are eight unique parks that will appeal to almost everyone and can be conveniently accessed with a SkyWest-operated flight!

Yellowstone

yellowstone-fountain-geyser_2018_600x450Yellowstone is America’s first national park (and widely held to be the first in the world)! Since it’s opening in 1872, it has maintained itself as one of the most iconic parks in the U.S. The majority of the world’s geysers can be found in Yellowstone, including Old Faithful, and it’s known for having an abundance of animal life. Visitors can often spot grizzly bears, wolves, bison, elk and more. With more than 2,000 campsites throughout the park, it’s a perfect trip for a weekend campout.

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Pinnacles

Pinnacles_National_Park_viewThose looking for something a little newer should definitely head to Pinnacles National Park in California – the country’s newest designated national park (only official since 2013). Known for its breathtaking spires and rock formation, Pinnacles is a favorite among advanced rock climbers due to its abundance of difficult and challenging climbs.There is also an array of wildflowers and spectacular views, with many popular hikes in the area.

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Big Bend

14789648805_3e3d38aa08_bIf isolation sounds ideal, head to Big Bend. It is one of only 10 places on the planet that has been certified for dark-sky gazing and has been recognized as having the darkest measured skies in the lower 48 United States. Big Bend is popular with backpackers and hikers alike for its stunning trails and its reputation for wide open space. 

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Great Smoky Mountains

smoky-mountains-sunrise-great-smoky-mountains-national-park-dave-allenIf Big Bend is a little too isolated, check out Great Smoky Mountains. This is the most visited national park in the United States, and for good reason too! The park covers the mountain range rising along the Tennessee-North Carolina border, a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains. It is world-renowned for the diversity of plant and animal life located in the park, along with popular activities like bicycling, fishing and waterfall walks.

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Isle Royale

AdamJewell_IsleRoyaleNP_3rdPrizeAt more than 45 miles long and nine miles wide, the largest island in Lake Superior is a dream for backpackers, kayakers, canoeists and scuba divers. This park does require visitors to plan ahead because it’s only accessible by boat or seaplane and does close during the winter. Once on the road-less island, enjoy a four- or five-day backpacking hike on the Greenstone Ridge Trail that follows the ridge across the center of the island or one of many other day hikes.

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Lassen Volcanic

681x454Sunset Magazine calls Lassen Volcanic, “The West’s most beautiful, least visited wonderland.” Lassen is not only beautiful, but also has the largest plug dome volcano in the world and is home to almost every kind of volcanic formation. Here travelers will be able to hike and camp among the meadows and mountain lakes to sneak a peek at the steaming fumaroles and marvel at the volcanoes that make it a top destination for aspiring geologists.

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Shenandoah

5683D041-155D-451F-673B22ED8CFCBF2EShenandoah encompasses part of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. The park is best known for Skyline Drive, a 105-mile road that runs through the park on the ridge on the mountains. This is especially scenic in autumn as the leaves are changing color. There are also fantastic hikes to see waterfalls, vistas and quiet, wooded hollows.

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Zion

Zion-Angels-Landing-slideZion National Park is located in beautiful Southern, Utah. The massive sandstone cliffs, narrow slot canyons and blue skies are iconic. Popular hikes include climbing up to Angel’s Landing and hiking though the narrows, but simply entering the park will provide spectacular views. Rock climbing and canyoneering are also popular in the park for the more adventurous crowd.

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Meet a Famous Duo and Enjoy the Outdoors in Bemidji, MN!

Caitlin Miller
People Programs Coordinator

It’s nearly impossible to travel through the northern, woodsy town of Bemidji, Minnesota without noticing the giant statues of legendary lumberjack Paul Bunyan and his sidekick, Babe the Blue Ox!  The famed statues were built in 1937 to celebrate the logging industry and still sit near the shore of Lake Bemidji, welcoming everyone who comes to visit. And thanks to everyone who has stopped to take a picture with the dynamic duo, the statues have become known as the second-most photographed icon in the nation.

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After visiting Paul Bunyan and Babe, a number of other outdoor attractions and recreation await. Five miles north of Bemidji lies Movil Maze, a 913-acre recreational area with over 14 kilometers of intermediate and expert trails that are open year-round. Trails are groomed and maintained to create the finest experience for those enjoying downhill skiing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, running, sightseeing or mountain biking. Be on the lookout for whitetail deer, bald eagles and black bears.

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Minnesota’s oldest state park, Itasca State Park, encompasses more than 32,000 acres with over 100 lakes, and the east entrance is only about 30 miles from Bemidji. The park was established in 1891 as a way to preserve the area that surrounds the start of the Mississippi River as it begins its 2,552-mile journey toward the Gulf of Mexico. Being able to see the source of the mighty Mississippi River is part of what makes the park such a famous North American landmark. Visitors will enjoy the short hike to the river headwaters, where there are a number of informative displays, and a great lunch at the Headwaters Café. There are also opportunities for fishing and camping under the star-filled skies. Plus, Itasca is an excellent place for premier bird watching, with over 222 species recorded!

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Fly right into Bemidji (BJI) on a SkyWest Airlines flight, operating as Delta Connection. from Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP). To find the best fares, head to delta.com.

Aberdeen

Enjoy Iconic Food and Land of Oz in Aberdeen, South Dakota

Aberdeen, South Dakota

Laura Hesson
Executive Administrative Assistant

Summer vacations are quickly approaching and anyone looking to enjoy some good old-fashioned family fun should check out Aberdeen, South Dakota. Aberdeen is the third largest city in South Dakota and still maintains its rural charm. Here are a few suggestions to help plan an upcoming trip!

Outdoor Fun

Wylie Park, just one mile north of town, is a great place for the entire family to spend a day or weekend. The biggest attractions are Storybook Land and the Land of Oz, which open for the season April 15th.

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Here families can listen to fairy tales and fables in a medieval castle (complete with its own moat and knights in shining armor), slide down Jack and Jill’s Hill or visit Goldilocks and the Three Bears. In Oz, families can stroll down the yellow brick road and visit Munchkin Land. There’s also a miniature train, bumper boats, paddle boats, go-karts and mini golf inside the park, along with a number of summertime events. Check out the city’s website for all the latest activities.

The Dacotah Prairie Museum is a great way to spend the morning indoors. It offers many historical features of the Dakota Territory. It also provides great insight into how Aberdeen was started and how things have progressed.

For something a little more adventurous, head on over to the Brown County Speedway for some heart-pumping, adrenaline-inducing dirt track racing. It is a 3/8th mile, high-banked WISSOTA sanctioned dirt oval. The Speedway races Late Models, Mods, Supers, Streets and Pure Stock.

Recommended Dining

The best place to go for breakfast is hands down Sammy’s Restaurant & Omelet located on Main Street.  They have the best omelets ever! It does get busy on Sundays but it’s easy to order the food to-go if there isn’t a place to sit.

It’s hard to top the iconic Twist Cone for a tasty meal. Enjoy the feeling of stepping back in time, along with a great BBQ sandwich and an Italian Ice Cream Cone for lunch.

Aberdeen Twist Cone

Another must-eat is the Palm Garden Café and Chocolate Shoppe.  The made-from-scratch pot pie and cheesy bread are a great way to end an evening. And the caramel, sea salt dark chocolate morsel is great at any time! They even have a sports museum upstairs, which is worth seeing after enjoying a great meal.

Where to Stay

Spend the night camping in the Wylie Park cabins or go with something a little more enclosed at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Hotel. Either way, the facilities are designed to provide travelers with a restful sleep and wake up ready to start a new adventure.

No matter how long the visit, Aberdeen does not disappoint. There is plenty to do and see for every one of all ages. Get to Aberdeen on one of two daily Delta Connection flights, operated by SkyWest, from Minneapolis. Book today at www.delta.com.

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Twin Falls, Idaho: Where Beauty and Adventure Meet

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Jodi Drake
Corporate Communications Specialist

At first glance, visitors seeing these beautiful waterfalls for the first time often think of Niagara Falls or possibly C.S. Lewis’ Narnia, not South-Central Idaho. In reality, Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, Idaho stands about 45 feet higher than Niagara Falls and is much more real than Narnia. Another bonus – no passport is needed to visit either side of the falls!

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To be fair, Idaho is technically considered a desert. This means that at certain times of year, the falls may be slightly more frozen than flowing. But this hidden beauty, within an otherwise desert environment, is one secret that needs to be let out and is dying to be explored. No matter the time of year, this sight is worth a visit.

For those adventure-seeking types who aren’t interested in watching bursts of water shoot off a cliff, here are two words to know: Perrine Bridge.

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To add a few more words, this bridge is one of very few manmade structures in the U.S. where B.A.S.E. jumpers don’t need a permit to jump. Here, daredevils and thrill-seekers alike are able to enjoy a 486-foot drop into the crisp water of the Snake River below. On top of that, history is literally created at this Twin Falls landmark as several world records have been made and/or broken on this 1,500-foot-wide bridge.

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In 2005, 21 people took the challenge to jump off Perrine Bridge at the same time. As their parachutes opened and they glided to the river below, Twin Falls caught the literal meaning of that ‘80s song, “It’s Raining Men” (and in this case, women, too).

The next year, in 2006, a man named Captain Daniel G. Schilling jumped off the Perrine 201 times in less than 24 hours, setting a Guinness World Record. He used a 60-ton crane that lifted him to the top to speed up the process.

If it’s not clear yet, this place is one-of-a-kind. Visit Twin Falls today with a short SkyWest jet flight, operating as Delta Connection, from Salt Lake City.

   Five Fun Twin Falls Facts:

  1. Residents are known as Idahoans
  2. First settled by Bannock and Shoshone Indians
  3. Twin Falls was the site of Evil Knievel’s unsuccessful 1974 jump of the Snake River
  4. Seventh largest city in Idaho
  5. Top industries include manufacturing, agriculture and tourism.
Butte_Georgetown Lake

Fun and Relaxation in Butte, MT the Heart of Big Sky Country

Layne Watson
Corporate Communications Manager

Once the largest city west of the Mississippi River between Chicago and San Francisco, Butte, Montana not only sits in the heart of Montana’s Big Sky Country, it also holds an important part in American history. And while Butte offers a memorable past, it also provides plenty of fun and relaxation for visitors today.

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Founded as a gold and silver mining camp, Butte was at the center of the copper boom that resulted from the development of electricity and industrialization of America in the early 1900s. And a visit to the World Museum of Mining is a great way to get a unique look into Butte’s storied mining heritage. They even offer one of the most realistic underground mine tours in the world. Equipped with a hard hat, cap lamp and battery belts, visitors will venture 65 feet into the mine to get a first-hand look at life as a miner.

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For those that prefer adventure above ground, Butte offers incredible outdoor activities as well. Enjoy a day of scenic and man-made beauty by visiting the Our Lady of the Rockies statue. Summer tours are available for visitors to see this 90-foot marvel sitting atop the Continental Divide overlooking Butte. Second in size in the U.S. only to the Statue of Liberty, Our Lady of the Rockies is a must see when visiting Butte.

Butte_Georgetown Lake

After the tour, head up to Georgetown Lake just 40 minutes outside of Butte. The lake is nestled in the shadows of the Anaconda Pintler Mountains and offers everything from recreation to relaxation. Fishermen should plan on bringing their bait and tackle as the lake is rated Montana’s most prolific and sees more fish caught per person than any other in the state. Georgetown Lake also makes for the perfect backdrop for nature hikes.

Butte_Folk Festival

Summertime in Butte is the perfect time to enjoy a festival, the largest of which is the Montana Folk Festival. This outdoor music festival features some of the best traditional performers in the nation, ethnic and festival foods, a lively family area, and folk life demonstrations and workshops. The Folk Festival, along with the numerous other festivals in Butte, is sure to create a lifetime of memories for families visiting the area.

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And what’s a trip to big game country without great food? After a day of adventure and excitement, head over to Casagranda’s Steakhouse and Guido’s Bar in the historic Bertoglio Warehouse of Uptown Butte. Diners will be treated to a seasoned, hand cut, Rocky Mountain grown steak and a wide variety of specialty wines and beer in this historic Old West building ­– the perfect end to a day full of fun and adventure.

Get started on an unforgettable visit to Big Sky Country by booking a convenient SkyWest flight, operating as Delta Connection, from Salt Lake City International Airport. The best fares can be found at Delta.com.