Q: We are intrigued by Canada's Gaspe peninsula and are thinking of flying to Maine, renting a car and driving around the peninsula. Is this a worthwhile drive, are there good hiking areas and when's the best time to go?
Yes, yes and right now – unless you like fall colors and brisk weather. Then October's best.
Quebec's rugged Gaspe Peninsula is wonderful year-round. With its wild coastal beauty, vast wildlife, pristine rivers and tiny fishing villages, the thumb of land jutting into the Gulf of St. Lawrence offers gasp-inducing scenery.
As for good hiking areas, “that's pretty much our trademark here in the peninsula,” said Jacques McBrearty of the Gaspe tourism office. In addition to the International Appalachian Trail (the peninsula is an extension of the Appalachian range), there are dozens of other hiking trails in the mountains and along the seashore.
“It's a magical place,” says Nadine Dyer, author of Adventures Great and Small (www.great-adventures.com), a Web site providing adventure-travel information for independent travelers.
“Trails traverse the width of the park with side trails to several peaks. Several day hikes and nature walks can be undertaken from the Lake Cascapedia area,” she says. Dyer also likes trails at Forillon National Park, where you'll see stunning seascapes. . Details on trails, lodging and attractions: www.tourisme-gaspesie.com and www.tourismegaspe.org.
Q: My beau and I want to spend a week of vacation on windsurfing lessons in Florida or the Caribbean. Ideas?
There's no shortage of windsurfing schools in either location. Windsurfing magazine (www.windsurfingmag.com) has a list of certified schools and shops in the United States, including 11 in Florida. In the Caribbean, good windsurfing destinations include Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Puerto Rico and, in the British Virgin Islands, Tortola.
For trip ideas, practical information and hotel recommendations, see Away.com's Windsurfing Guide at www.away.com; at “Interest Guides,” click “Beach Travel Guide,” then “Windsurfing.”