Now that January is nearly in the rear view mirror, it is time for travelers to forge ahead. The Chinese refer to this time as the Lunar New Year, or the Year of The Rabbit. It is also time for travelers to break barriers and do things they have never considered doing. 2023 is a trailblazer’s kind of year. It is vital that no one should be confused between a traveler and a trailblazer. A traveler is a person who is traveling or who often travels. A trailblazer is a pioneer; an innovator. Let it known that travelers are trailblazers in a unique way. When traveling, new things are experienced. Travelers do meet new people and explore new places. 2023 is a year during which all travelers of all ages should be reaching beyond their comfort zones and do things in ways they’ve never envisioned. To break the ice, there’s a short list of places around the United States which make 2023 the year of the trailblazer.

5. Tampa, FL: There is Orlando, home to world-class attractions including Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World. However, no one has given much thought to Tampa as a trailblazer’s kind of city. Comparable to Orlando, Tampa does have its share of world-class attractions. Tampa is home to Busch Gardens, the sister counterpart to in Williamsburg, VA. Busch Gardens in Williamsburg is themed after European countries (ex. Italy, Germany, and Ireland), while Busch Gardens-Tampa is themed after regions of Africa. Tampa features the Ybor City Trolley, which stretches from downtown Tampa to historic Ybor City. Also the Tampa area is home to Caliente Resort in the suburb of Land O’Lakes and Paradise Lakes Resorts in the suburb of Lutz. Both are clothing optional resorts. Caliente is designed for adults only, while Paradise Lakes is designed for all ages. As opposed to Orlando, Tampa is more than just a place to travel to. It’s a whole world of discovery. Travelers can discover more at,, and

4. Newport, RI: Of all northeastern cities on the Atlantic seaboard, Newport, RI is a city for travelers of all ages to experience. It’s more than just a city on Narragansett Bay, with the Claiborne Pell Bridge providing the perfect backdrop. Newport is home to the most glamorous mansions in the United States. Among such famous mansions are The Breakers, formerly the summer home of the Vanderbilt family. Not only was The Breakers a Vanderbilt mansion, but so was the Marble House nearby. Travelers often overlook Ochre Court, the former summer home of Robert Goelet. Ochre Court is the administrative building for Salve Regina University. Besides Ochre Court, the Salve Regina University campus is home to Wakehurst (now named Gerety Hall), Vineland Mansion (now known as McCauley Hall), and Seaview Terrace (currently known as Carey Mansion). Instead of following the tour bus’s route, it pays to go off the beaten path and explore what isn’t covered on the map. Last but not least, travelers must not miss out on the famous Cliff Walk, which gives them a gaping perspective of the mansions and the Salve Regina Campus all at once. More information can be found at and

3. Sandy Hook, NJ: It is typical of summer travelers to visit a certain destination on the New Jersey Shore, and forget all about the rest. It’s typical of day travelers to visit their favorite attraction(s) and turn a blind eye to places that are worth something to the traveler’s eye. Sandy Hook is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, run by the National Park Service. Sandy Hook is home to Sandy Hook Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse on the east coast. It was built in 1764. In the neighboring town of Atlantic Highlands stands Twin Lights. Twin Lights is  a non-operational lighthouse and museum. The Twin Lights, as the name implies, are a pair of beacons located 246 feet above sea level on the headlands of the Navesink Highlands. Travelers of all ages are encouraged to break barriers by visiting Sandy Hook’s Gunnison Beach. Gunnison Beach is the largest clothing-optional beach in the northeastern United States. It is visited by millions from as south as the Carolinas and as far north as Canada. Parking is only $15.00 per car, which covers the entire day. Those travelers long for a full tan, Gunnison Beach is the place. Note, beach goers who wish to visit on Saturday or Sunday, must arrive prior to 9 am. Gunnison Beach IS THAT POPULAR! Ultimately, no traveler can appreciate a more perfect view of the New York City skyline and Verrazano Bridge than from Gunnison Beach. To learn more about “The Hook”, visit

2. Las Vegas, NV: Of course, Las Vegas is home to some of the most glorious casino resorts in the world. That’s all true. However, Las Vegas is home to much more than trying one’s luck on the slot machines, Black Jack, Craps, and Keno. There is a whole other world outside the gambling world to explore. Has anyone visited the New York-New York Casino Resort? The steel roller coaster, “The Big Apple” is an experience not to be missed. With the purchase of a Scream Pass ($35.00), one can ride it all day long. Where can one enjoy a steel roller roaster ride for just that much? Has anyone wondered how all the neon lights and signs around Las Vegas got their fame, and wanted to learn about their history? Travelers can look no further than the Neon Museum. It’s a museum experience which would undoubtedly capture the traveler’s imagination. In the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, the Lion Habitat Ranch is an experience not to be passed up. At the Lion Habitat Ranch, several lions….and a giraffe, live at this sanctuary with optional guided tours and feeding experiences. Further details can be found at and

1. Savannah, GA: The Hostess City, Savannah, GA, is known as one of the most haunted cities in the United States. It is a city steeped in history; history stretching throughout all walks of life. Savannah is undoubtedly a trailblazer’s kind of destination. Once setting foot in town, there is a smorgasbord of attractions and points of interest to appreciate. Travelers can take cocktail making classes at the American Prohibition Museum, experience the chilling haunted history of Savannah on a candlelit walking tour, and journey further through Savannah’s haunted history on a graveyard tour. A trailblazer’s stay continues by sitting on the famous “Forrest Gump” bench at the Savannah History Museum, taking a riverboat cruise on the Savannah River aboard the Georgia Queen, and unwinding by enjoying handmade ice cream at famous Leopold’s Ice Cream, in business since 1919. Travelers must not forget to visit the Service Brewery. Those who serve or have served the armed forces are encouraged to pay a visit. Last, but not least, trailblazers of all ages who have not yet tried alligator meat in every dish imaginable, can look no further than the restaurant Alligator Soul. More information can be found at

2023 is well underway. Believe it or not, the traveling industry is back in full swing. The pandemic can be put to rest. Those two and a half years may have forced travelers to put their hopes and dreams of exploring the outside world on hold. Now, let the hopes and dreams of all travelers take flight. 2023 is the year for all travelers to try new things, explore new places, and break barriers with new experiences. Whether it’s Busch Gardens, visiting Ybor City, or experiencing the clothing-optional realm at Paradise Lakes or Caliente, Tampa opens the door to a whole new world of exploration and fascination. For those who wish to recapture the wonders of the Gilded Age and New England charm, Newport, RI is the place to be. Travelers of all ages curious about New Jersey life are encouraged to break barriers at Sandy Hook, and enjoy the sand and surf at Gunnison Beach. Sandy Hook Lighthouse and Twin Lights are sure not to be missed. In fabulous Las Vegas, learning about lions in Henderson and appreciating the city’s neon age are definitely not to be passed up. Ultimately, Savannah is a trailblazer’s dream, with so much to learn and experience. Why should 2023 be a year of more of the same? The year 2023 is more than a breakout year for the avid traveler. 2023 will be the year of the trailblazer.

About Author

David Kriso has been a travel writer since August 2011. He is a contributing writer for both of his hometown's newspapers, The Gazette, and The Observer. His articles focus on cruise and railroad travel. David is also published online at, a cruise magazine based in Vancouver, Canada and at Amtrak's story site, David also writes for the publication On, he writes about cruise and rail travel. David is a long-time train traveler, avid cruiser, and a Disney traveler since age 4.

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