I love lists. They have a way of making a chaotic world orderly — or at least give the illusion of order. They also illustrate the connection of things that might otherwise have no relation to each other.
Lists can motivate, too. For some, there’s great satisfaction in checking off items on a list, which gives a sense of accomplishment.
I confess to being a list-maker, mostly because I wouldn’t know what to do or where I’m supposed to be if I didn’t have my list (and throw in a calendar, too).
The travel industry loves lists, too, and I receive several each day.
These lists often are a vehicle for promoting something, someone or a destination — a way to get noticed. Here a few of the travel-related lists that have arrived in my inbox or come across my desk during 2016.
Some of the Top 10 Vacation Destinations in the U.S. for 2016 (which are still good for 2017) and reasons to visit, according to AARP: Oahu, because it’s the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor; the 13.2-million-acre Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in south central Alaska, because it’s the National Park Service’s centennial and this park is the least visited of the 59 national parks; American Samoa, because it’s the only U.S. territory south of the equator; Seaside, Fla., because this idyllic community is the location where “The Truman Show” with Jim Carrey was filmed; San Antonio, because it’s a new destination for foodies; Savannah, Ga., because of its history, ambiance and food; and our own Catalina Island, because there’s a boat ride involved, the streets are pedestrian-friendly (no cars at all) and the island plays host to a great jazz festival.
Some of the 21 Must-See Places in the World for 2017, according to National Geographic Traveler, and the reasons to visit: Papua, New Guinea, because of the “unprecedented access” to remote villages; Chengdu, China, because it has been named a UNESCO City of Gastronomy; Canton Uri, Switzerland, because you can ride through the world’s longest rail tunnel; Cradle of Humankind, South Africa (an hour northwest of Johannesburg), because scientists have discovered limestone caves and dolomite sinkholes that are one of the world’s greatest sources of human fossils; Baja California National Marine Parks, Mexico, because the area is an ocean-conservation success story; Ecuador’s Cloud Forest, because it is one of the richest depositories of plant and animal life on the planet; Finland, because you can see the northern lights, which often appear during the country’s 200 days of winter; Banff, Alberta, Canada, because of the hiking, mountain air and spectacular scenery; and Cartagena, Columbia, because it is mostly untouched by drug wars and is a city that has inspired novelists (i.e. Gabriel Garcia Marquez).
Up for seeing some California destinations during the holidays? Here are some recommendations and reasons from VisitCalifornia.com: Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, because it is transformed into a luminescent winter wonderland through Dec. 18. visitmendocino.com/; The Village at Squaw Valley because it becomes an Olde World Christmas village with fire dancers, a singing Christmas tree and ice sculptures. squawalpine.com; Napa Valley’s Santa Train, because it offers a Polar Express-like journey seven days a week through Dec. 29. visitnapavalley.com; San Francisco because 35 light sculptures by 31 artists in 12 neighborhoods make up the SF Festival of Light, on display through New Year’s. illuminatesf.com/.
And lastly, here are the top desert escapes (no surprises here), according to Sunset magazine: In California: La Quinta, Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs and Anza Borrego Desert State Park.
In Utah, Kayenta and Moab. And in Arizona: Scottsdale, Tucson and the Grand Canyon.
E’Louise Ondash is a freelance writer living in North County. Tell her about your travels at firstname.lastname@example.org.
E’Louise Ondash is a veteran, award-winning journalist who was an investigative reporter, feature writer and columnist for the Times Advocate and the North County Times. She has written travel features for The Coast News since 2003.