Finger Lakes Day Trips - Hiking Canyons, Petting Goats, and Stunning Waterfalls

This area is dotted with craggy lakes, deep gorges, cascading waterfalls, and lush greenery, peppered with small towns and wineries. I lived in this area for over a decade and did lots of exploring. The Finger Lakes in Central/Western New York has so many places to check out that it is hard to pick just a few, but these are my picks for where I would take friends from out of town for a memorable trip:

Watson Lakes, Washington - Picturesque Lakes with Options for Most Skill Levels

Something about the mountains and the reflections here make these lakes really special. The trails to Anderson Lakes are an easy walk complete with some boardwalks and a little up and down, the first Watson Lake requires a little elevation change going over a ridge, and the far side of the second Watson Lake is barely a trail, but worth it.

Mount Ellinor, Washington - A Leg Burner on the Edge of Two Worlds, with a Chance of Goats

The steep climb up what may seem like endless stairs brings you to a summit with lush green lake views to one side and snowcapped mountains on the other. It really feels like you are right on the edge of the mountain range. There used to be lots of mountain goats in the area. Many have been relocated, but you never know.

Portugal - Experience Carnaval Festivities on the Island of Madeira

Carnaval in Madeira is a colorful combination of dance, humor, and fun, usually with an edge of the taboo. You never know if around the next corner you will run into women in feathered costumes or men in drag dancing with a pig. The festivities were spread out across a couple weeks with a live dance show every night and most of the events were free to the public.