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5 Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Resources to Help Plan Your Trip

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Planning a trip to any destination can be a daunting prospect with so many different resources available but it’s always difficult to know which are reputable and worth researching. If you are planning a trip to the Gulf Coast, this prospect is no different but after reading this handy guide, we hope you will have a good idea of the resources that will help you plan the perfect trip before you head to Alabama’s Beaches. Visit GulfShores.com for more information on experiencing the Gulf Coast.

alabama beaches

Whether you are an active planner or prepare to travel with a hint of spontaneity, having access to resources before and during your visit to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is critical to ensure you have an awesome experience. Of course, it goes without saying our blog is an awesome resource and we have been fortunate now to be returning visitors to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach for almost 10 years. We are constantly updating our content on the Gulf Coast, but we also want to share some other resources that are equally beneficial.

gulf shores and orange beach

Let’s take a look at 5 of the best resources you can use before heading to the Gulf Coast and we always encourage you to comment below and share any other resources that you found to be beneficial when planning a trip to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

Gulfshores.com

Head over to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach tourism website for inspiration, latest news, and all the resources you will need to enjoy your visit to Alabama’s white-sand beaches. Whether you are looking for locals favorite restaurants to experience, or perhaps you need a list of recommended attractions to explore during your visit, Gulfshores.com hosts a plethora of information to ensure every part of your trip is taken care of.

gulf shores and orange beach tourism website

Think about Gulfshores.com as a centralized “one-stop shop” to cater for all your needs. If you are considering accommodation choices, this website offers an array of options provided by vacation rental companies, hotels, B&Bs and individual vacation rental property owners.

Perhaps the most helpful part of Gulfshores.com is the blog section which is frequently updated by locals and frequent visitors to the Gulf Coast, sharing their local favorites and experiences you cannot afford to miss. The “Beach is Calling” blog shares the best beach vacation tips, including favorite hot spots for catching and eating fresh fish, when to visit Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, and how you can plan your perfect getaway to the beach.

beach is calling blog

Social Media

In today’s society, it will be no surprise to hear that social media is a great way to staying connected with the best things to experience during your visit to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. The VisitALBeaches Facebook page is extremely active and offers daily inspiration with eye-catching videos, awe-inspiring photographs, and other media that will inspire you to experience everything on offer along the Gulf Coast.

visit alabama beaches facebook page

If Facebook isn’t your preferred social media, there are frequently Instagram reels, Tik-Tok videos, or inspiring pins on Pinterest that will allow you to plan everything you need to create the perfect Gulf Shores and Orange Beach getaway. If you prefer the quick interactions on Twitter, be sure to follow the #ALBeachBlogger hashtag to get inspiring content from yours truly, along with a collection of other amazing bloggers who showcase their favorite experiences on Alabama’s beaches.

visit alabama beaches tiktok

Social media is a great way to highlight iconic experiences that perhaps would otherwise get lost among a collection of other awesome attractions, restaurants, and lodging options. We can attest to finding some of our best experiences along the Gulf Coast from other social media posts, and we definitely encourage you to check out some of your favorite social platforms to uncover some hidden gems along this stretch of Alabama coastline.

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Digital Vacation Guide

Grab your iPad or other mobile device and head over to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach tourism site to download the latest digital vacation guide. This resource is a handy tool that can be used whether you are online or offline and can also be downloaded as a PDF if you prefer to have a static document. Think about this guide as an overview of the very best things to see, do, and eat during your visit to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

Check out the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Digital Vacation Guide here. Download a local PDF copy here.

A new version of the digital vacation guide is made available each year, so you can be sure to always have the latest, up-to-date information available prior and during your visit to the Gulf Coast. We have found this guide to be incredibly helpful and inspiring, not only because of the creativity and aesthetic appeal of the guide, but because of the authentic feel and local spots that you are encouraged to visit.

Visitor Centers

Once you arrive in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, one of the best places to start your adventure is the local tourism visitor center. With one center available in either location, this is undoubtedly the ideal starting point to ensure you have all the information necessary to enjoy your visit to the Gulf Coast. Free brochures, local maps and information on everything a visitor would want to know about lodging, attractions, dining and more on the Alabama Gulf Coast can be found in both the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach locations.

For those that prefer to have a physical copy of the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Vacation Guide, you can pickup your full-color copy at the welcome center. Free wi-fi access is available at both locations, but perhaps the best resource is the local knowledge on hand by the friendly staff who will give you all the information needed to ensure you are fully equipped to enjoy your visit.

The two welcome centers can be found as follows:

Travel Blogs

While we have focused our attention on other resources, it would certainly be remiss to not mention travel blogs as a great resource to find inspiring content that will help you plan your trip to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. We have been extremely fortunate to visit this part of Alabama on numerous occasions and I am sure those of you that have followed us over the years will know that this is one of our favorite destinations.

a brit and a southerner travel blog

Check out some of our posts highlighting why Fall is the best time for a Gulf Shores and Orange Beach getaway, the best local coffee shops in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, and for those looking for a late season getaway, find out why the Christmas festivities at the beach are so awesome along this stretch of Alabama coastline.

A full collection of our posts on Gulf Shores and Orange Beach can be found here: Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Travel Blogs

Of course, our travel blog is just one of many that provide inspiring content on the Gulf Coast. Some of our friends in the travel blogosphere that have awesome Gulf Shores and Orange Beach content can be found below:

gulf shores beaches

St. Louis to Indianapolis – How to Enjoy an Amazing Road Trip

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The heart of the United States offers an abundance of attractions that frequently fall under the radar but are well worth experiencing if you are planning a trip to this part of the country. Whether you are visiting the states of Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana or Illinois, there are ample opportunities to explore hidden gems that may inspire you to book a return trip in the future. Living in nearby Arkansas, we have had the opportunity to visit many of these, and we recently took a road trip from St. Louis to Indianapolis to see what gems we could stumble across along I-70.

A little over three hours in driving time, the road trip between two of the more iconic cities in Central USA is simple given that it is all interstate along I-70. While you will pass through a myriad of smaller towns, each with their own unique character and charm that may inspire you to spend some time, there is one spot that is well and truly the pièce de résistance on this journey. However, while the focus of this post will highlight this iconic destination, it’s also worth noting there are other places that should be added to your road trip itinerary.

Casey, Illinois – Big Things, Small Town

The small town of Casey, Illinois may be home to a population slightly over 2,000, but there are plenty of reasons that make this destination a place that should be on everyone’s radar when visiting this part of the Prairie State. Whether you are heading to the nearby cities of Indianapolis or St. Louis, or perhaps embarking on a cross-country road trip, Casey is a location that has an abundance of personality that visitors should cherish as they experience this one of a kind town.

casey illinois big things small town

While Casey may be a small town, it’s well recognized as being home to “larger than life” things! The locals are proud to call their home a tourist hotspot given that the Guinness World Records recognize this destination as being home to a number of the world’s largest roadside attractions. Let’s take a quick look at what you can expect to see (you can hardly miss them once you venture off I-70 and visit this iconic town!) in the town of Casey!

largest teeter totter

Big Wooden Token

After leaving exit 129 on I-70 towards the downtown area of Casey, the first attraction you will stumble across is a big wooden token which on the front advertises Casey State Bank. With a 13-foot radius and weighing 3,280 pounds, the back features smaller tokens highlighting the various attractions that you will find as you continue your journey around Casey.

wooden token casey illinois

World’s Largest Golf Tee

Head to Casey Country Club and visit a golf tee that stands 30.5-feet tall and is perhaps one of the coolest attractions if you are an avid golfer like myself. This tee was verified by Guinness World Records as the tallest golf tee in the world in February 2013, and I cannot imagine there will be many other golf courses around the world ready to build one larger than this.

largest golf tee casey illinois

This attraction certainly helps put Casey Country Club on the map for a golf course worth visiting…you may as well enjoy a round of golf after visiting this attraction. The history of this tee only dates back to 2012 when the country club’s president decided to continue the tradition of Casey’s iconic “big things” theme. By laminating lumber for close to five months, the structure of this masterpiece was formed before using a chainsaw and sander to shape and smooth the surface.

World’s Largest Golf Driver

Let’s keep the golf theme going by heading from the country club into the downtown vicinity of Casey and experiencing the world’s largest golf driver. Measuring over 45-feet in length and weighing 731 pounds, the head of the driver is made from persimmon wood and a reused aluminum light pole for the shaft.

largest golf driver casey illinois

Verified as the world’s largest driver on September 28, 2019 by the Guinness World Records, it is clearly on display alongside some of the town’s other iconic landmarks at the intersection of Main Street and Central Avenue.

World’s Largest Pitchfork

At 60-feet in length, the world’s largest pitchfork can also be found in the heart of Casey. The pitchfork handle is made of reclaimed red cedar and the metal part was created primarily from parts of old streetlight illuminator arms.

largest pitchfork casey illinois

When this pitchfork was created in 2014 and declared the world’s largest less than 12 months later, it was recognized as the first by the Guinness World Records. Did you know that the Guinness World Records requires an item to be at least 10 times larger than the regular item in order to qualify? Casey’s pitchfork easily exceeds these minimum requirements and is one of the most popular landmarks in the town.

World’s Largest Rocking Chair

Perhaps the most iconic of all the landmarks in Casey is the towering rocking chair that sits in the heart of the downtown area. Standing at 56.5 feet tall, this masterpiece is not only the world’s largest rocking chair, but it is also the largest chair in America. Completed in August 2015, this chair weighs 46,000 pounds and is made with recycled wood and pipe.

largest rocking chair casey illinois

While visitors cannot sit on the chair, standing in front of it and marveling at its size really puts this landmark into perspective!

World’s Largest Mailbox

Each of these weird and wonderful attractions has unique character about its design, but in my opinion the most eye-catching is the world’s largest mailbox. At 5,700 cubic feet, this mailbox has been certified as the world’s largest by Guinness World Records and with two sets of interior stairs, visitors can climb the “post” to the top of the “box” and enjoy epic views across the town of Casey.

largest mailbox casey illinois

The mailbox is another of Jim Bolin’s creative works of art and was completed in 2015. Did you also know that you can even mail your own letters or postcards from within the mailbox?

inside largest mailbox casey illinois

Other Attractions in Casey

Visitors to Casey will each have their own favorite attraction, and while the aforementioned are likely to be the most infamous, there are a wide variety of other landmarks that lay claim to being “oversized” and certainly help the town become renowned for having such “larger than life” items.

  • World’s Largest Teeter Totter
  • Big Yardstick
  • Big Antlers
  • Big Cactus
  • Big Mouse Trap
  • Big Spinning Top
  • Big Pencil
  • World’s Largest Barbershop Pole
  • Big Birdcage
  • World’s Largest Swizzle Spoon
  • Big Taco
  • World’s Largest Truck Key
largest truck key casey illinois

Effingham

The drive between St. Louis and Indianapolis offers more than just the weird and wonderful attractions in the small town of Casey. Prior to arriving in Casey, you can enjoy the city of Effingham and explore a couple of iconic attractions. The “Cross at the Crossroads” is clearly visible from the interstate and is almost 200-feet in height.

Standing as the second largest cross in the United States, visitors can walk around the designated area and read and listen to the Ten Commandments. This structure is certainly a work of art, so regardless of your religious affiliation, this is certainly an attraction worth visiting, or at least admiring from the interstate.

If you are a wine connoisseur, consider paying a visit to Tuscan Hills Winery for a quick wine-tasting experience. The home-like atmosphere is extremely welcoming for all visitors, and with a collection of local wines on offer, this is definitely an attraction worth considering. Other attractions in Effingham include the Mid America Motorworks Museum, Lake Sara, and a collection of eateries that are worth grabbing a bite to eat to sample local delicacies.

Terre Haute

After leaving the town of Casey and venturing onwards towards Indianapolis, the best opportunity to stop and explore more of Indiana’s lesser known destinations is the city of Terre Haute.

One of the most poignant landmarks is the CANDLES Holocaust Museum, opened in 1995 by Eva Mozes Kor. The ultimate goal of this museum is to prevent hatred and prejudice, through the depiction of the horrific experiences during the Holocaust. CANDLES is an acronym for “Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors.”

“You may have destroyed some photos, but you didn’t destroy our story. You may have destroyed some exhibits, but you didn’t destroy our spirit. You may have destroyed a building, but you didn’t destroy our community. Light prevails over darkness, and love will always conquer hate.”

CANDLES Holocaust Museum

On a lighter note, Terre Haute is also home to Terre Haute Brewing Company which is a perfect spot to enjoy Indiana’s oldest and America’s second-oldest brewery in operation. With a number of craft brews always available, this is definitely a spot worth visiting if you love to sample craft beers.

Summary

The road trip between St. Louis and Indianapolis is one that at first glance looks like a simple interstate drive, and you could be forgiven for thinking your attention should be on reaching either of the iconic cities. However, we hope after reading this post you will allocate some time to explore the quirky town of Casey, along with other spots along this route.

largest birdcage casey illinois

What is your favorite “larger than life” attraction in Casey? What other landmark would you like to see Casey create and put on display for visitors in the near future?

Weekend Getaways in Tennessee – Enjoy an Amazing 48 Hours

Ready for a fun-filled weekend getaway in the Volunteer state? If you love the great outdoors mixed in with a little urban adventure, you can be sure that there is a destination across the state of Tennessee that will spark your interest. From experiencing the best street art in Memphis, to the best coffee shops in Nashville, and exploring the iconic Cades Cove Loop in the Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee has a plethora of destinations that should be on your radar. If you looking to find the best weekend getaways in Tennessee, keep reading…as we think this collection will have you itching to book a trip in the near future.

downtown memphis mississippi river

Weekend Getaways in Tennessee

While the cities of Memphis and Nashville are undoubtedly popular destinations in this part of the US, there are a number of other locations across Tennessee that should be on your radar. Lesser known destinations such as Franklin or Fall Creek Falls State Park are equally attractive and should be considered for a weekend getaway, but we hope that you are inspired by any or all of the following spots that are ideal spots to spend 48 hours enjoying the inherent beauty of Tennessee.

smoky mountains

Let’s take a look at which locations across Tennessee are on our list of recommendations. We would also like to thank our awesome contributors who are local experts and residents of Tennessee for sharing insider knowledge as to their chosen destinations.

  • Memphis
  • Nashville
  • Chattanooga
  • Gatlinburg
  • Franklin
honest coffee roasters franklin

Memphis

When you think about a Tennessee stereotype, it’s possible that the likes of Elvis Presley, BBQ and an eclectic music scene will frequently be at the top of many lists. All of these are associated with the city of Memphis, located on the western side of the state on the banks of the iconic Mississippi River.

mississippi river bridge

Whether you are intrigued by taking a tour around Graceland to learn more about Elvis’ heritage and lifestyle, or perhaps you want to head downtown to visit Sun Studio, frequently recognized as the “birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll”, Memphis has an abundance of attractions that you can add to an action-packed weekend getaway.

graceland

Why not start in the downtown area to experience the heart and soul of Memphis along Beale Street, one of the most iconic downtown streets not only in this part of the south but across the US, before venturing to Sun Studio to learn how Elvis and many other iconic artists kickstarted their careers here.

For those that enjoy the arts and culture of a city, there are ample examples of street art highlighting the creative nature of the city, while the “foodies” visiting the city will likely want to sample stereotypical BBQ from restaurants such Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous, Central BBQ or Neely’s Interstate BBQ.

beale street memphis

Take a stroll along the banks of the Mississippi to admire the iconic Pyramid structure that has been transformed into perhaps the most unique Bass Pro Shops outdoor and adventure store. For those that want to experience a little retail therapy, the Germantown area of the city is one of the most popular among locals and visitors alike with the Wolfchase Galleria and Saddle Creek Malls offering plenty of high profile stores to fit all fashion styles.

memphis street art

Nashville

Stereotypically known as the home of country music, Nashville offers visitors the opportunity to experience an eclectic blend of attractions that has made this such a popular city among travelers from all corners of the globe.

nashville skyline

Whether you are intrigued by the prospect of learning all about country music at the iconic Ryman Auditorium, Grand Ole Opry or the Country Music Hall of Fame, or perhaps you want to visit the one true replica of the Parthenon in Centennial Park, Nashville will have something that will likely spark your interest.

centennial park nashville

Walk downtown Nashville along Broadway to experience the true “honky tonk” bar scene, before heading across the Cumberland River to take in the Batman building along with other iconic buildings with a spectacular Nashville skyline. For those ready to see one of Nashville or surrounding areas next country music star, head to the Bluebird Cafe as performers here frequently end up being the next iconic star in this genre.

broadway nashville

Ready to experience the history and heritage of Nashville? Head over to Belle Meade Plantation to enjoy a guided tour of this Greek-Revival landmark that is infamous for being home to stables that have a collection of thoroughbred horses that went on to win some of the most iconic horse races in the world.

Exploring the collection of vibrant neighborhoods in Nashville, such as the Gulch, 12South, or Hillsboro Village, offers visitors the opportunity to explore what locals enjoy, with restaurants, local boutique stores, coffee shops and more on offer in all of these.

Chattanooga

Chattanooga, located in the southeastern part of the state, has a wide range of activities to keep anyone busy such as hiking, delicious restaurants, and unique attractions. Visit the Tennessee Aquarium to see over 10,000 marine animals and pet a stingray. Check out penguins, sharks, seahorses, and more here. 

Take an elevator 260 feet into the earth to make your way to Ruby Falls, the deepest and highest waterfall located underground in the nation. This waterfall plunges 145 feet in Lookout Mountain, another tourist destination in which you can see 7 states on a clear day.

While in the area don’t forget to check out the funicular railway that takes you to the top of Lookout Mountain. The Lookout Mountain Incline Railway is the steepest passenger railway in the world and provides beautiful views along its one mile trip.

Chattanooga

History buffs will enjoy a trip to Sunset Rock, which is located in part of the oldest and largest Civil War national park. The panoramic view overlooking Chattanooga is breathtaking. Chattanooga has plenty of outdoor activities such as nearby hiking trails, waterfalls, and rock climbing areas. The riverwalk is a happening place with biking facilities and summer concerts. The Chattanooga Zoo is a fun place for families to spend an afternoon.

Chattanooga

Eat at the City Cafe Diner. There’s something for everyone and the dessert menu is extravagant and delicious. Don’t miss Clumpies for its hand made ice cream. If you are looking for somewhere unique to stay, stay in the Chattanooga Choo-Choo Hotel. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this hotel allows you to stay in a modified Pullman train car. 

Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, family time, or for some adventure, Chattanooga is the place to be. 

Thanks to Becci Edington from Tattling Tourist for sharing her thoughts on why Chattanooga is the perfect Tennessee weekend getaway destination.

Gatlinburg

Recognized as the “Gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” the mountain town of Gatlinburg offers an abundance of attractions for visitors who are exploring the area or simply using it as a base to enjoy the inherent natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains.

smoky mountains

The iconic Space Needle observation tower stands at over 400 feet, providing epic panoramic views of the Smoky Mountains and surrounding communities. The Sky Lift will transport visitors to Ober Gatlinburg, frequently recognized for its popular amusement park and ski resort. One of the newer additions to Gatlinburg’s eclectic collection of attractions is the SkyBridge that stands 1,800 feet above sea level and is the longest pedestrian cable bridge in North America.

gatlinburg sky tower

For those looking for a little less adventure, head downtown Gatlinburg to sample one of the many moonshine bars before taking a couple of jars as lasting memories. Whether you are enticed into one of the Ripley’s attractions (Aquarium, Believe It or Not! Museum, Haunted Adventure among others), there are ample reasons to justify spending a couple of days in this part of Tennessee.

The nearby Great Smoky Mountains are perhaps the main reason for visiting this part of the state. A drive through the iconic Cades Cove Loop will likely offer plenty of wildlife sightings, while there are plenty of hikes that offer breathtaking scenery and waterfall adventures.

cades cove loop smoky mountains

Franklin

While the nearby city of Nashville deservedly attracts visitors from all corners of the globe, there is a smaller community that is equally deserving yet frequently lies in the shadow of the nearby metropolis. The city of Franklin lies 20 miles south of Nashville and is a popular residence for some of the leading country music starts who have claimed their fame on the Grand Ole Opry stage and look to enjoy their life out of the limelight in this nearby historic community.

downtown franklin

The downtown area of Franklin offers an eclectic blend of boutique stores, restaurants and other whimsical attractions that visitors can enjoy before heading over to The Factory which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is now home to an additional collection of stores, restaurants and offices.

the factory franklin

For the historians out there looking to learn more about Tennessee history, the city of Franklin is perhaps one of the most iconic, especially in relation to the Civil War and the role this location played. Today, visitors can explore historic buildings such as the Lotz House Museum, Carnton Plantation, and Carter House. If you are looking for the best things to do in Franklin, you can be sure there are plenty of attractions that will satisfy all the family.

franklin tennessee

Other Destinations

While have focused on five epic locations that we consider to be the perfect weekend getaway destinations in Tennessee, there are plenty of other areas that should be considered.

For those looking to enjoy the great outdoors, Falls Creek Falls State Park offers plenty of hiking trails and panoramic scenery year round. If you are traveling around the eastern side of the state and looking for another urban getaway, the city of Knoxville is worth exploring (and home of the University of Tennessee).

fall creek falls state park

One of our favorite recommendations is to combine a trip to two of Tennessee’s iconic cities, by taking a road trip from Memphis to Nashville. During the drive along I-40, spend some time in the city of Jackson which is the perfectly located to break up the 3 hour drive to Music City.

Summary

The state of Tennessee may not be the first area of the US you think about visiting for a weekend getaway, but with the collection of destinations ranging from urban to rural gems, this is definitely a state that should be on everyone’s radar.

While the cities of Memphis and Nashville continue to be popular attractions for visitors, those lesser known areas such as Franklin, Chattanooga among others deserve as much recognition and worth visiting for an epic weekend getaway.

Are there other areas of Tennessee that you would recommend visiting for a weekend getaway? If so, please let us know by sharing your comments below.

48 Hours in Sydney – How to Enjoy an Epic Weekend Getaway

When you think about Australia, it is inevitable that the iconic city of Sydney will likely be near the top of your list of must-visit destinations! Whether you are inspired to visit the quintessential Sydney Opera House, head down to the vibrant Darling Harbour area, or perhaps take a thrill-seeking stroll across the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, this is definitely a city that needs to be on your radar when planning an Australian adventure. For those of you that travel like we do, it’s all about creating action-packed itineraries and what better way to experience this part of Oz that by exploring an epic 48 hours in Sydney.

If you are unfamiliar with Australian geography, you may not know that despite the size of this country, much of the population can be found in communities and urban areas along the coast. The city of Sydney is no different and is undoubtedly the focal point of this stretch of south-east coastline, especially given that it is the capital of the state of New South Wales.

sydney opera house

48 Hours in Sydney – Best Things to Do

With a population of over 5 million locals, and almost the same number of tourists from all corners of the globe visiting on an annual basis, it’s no surprise that Sydney has an eclectic variety of attractions, cultural experiences, and amazing diverse food delicacies for everyone to sample. While Sydney is a city you could easily spend several weeks and still have plenty to uncover, we hope that after reading this 48-hour guide you will be raring to book a trip in the not-too-distant future.

sydney harbour

Let’s take a look at some of our top recommendations that you cannot afford to miss during a getaway to one of Australia’s most breathtaking cities. We also encourage you to check out Rome2rio prior to heading to Sydney to find great deals on hotels, transportation options in and around the city and tickets to some of the attractions we recommend throughout.

Sydney has a plethora of amazing attractions, many of which are rightfully considered to be some of the most spectacular sights anywhere around the world. However, this city is also home to some lesser-known attractions that are well worthy of being added to a 48-hour experience exploring the downtown.

While a short trip to Sydney may then allow visitors to travel further afield to nearby cities such as Canberra, or perhaps a day trip into the Blue Mountains, the focus of attention during a trip to this urban area is definitely to explore these infamous sights.

Sydney Opera House

Is there anything more iconic than the image overlooking the historic Sydney Opera House? Perhaps the most iconic structure throughout Australia and definitely one that most visitors to the Land of Oz will be familiar with, this multi-venue performing arts centre epitomizes everything there is to love about 20th century modern-day architecture. While the distinctive sail-shaped structure dates back to its opening in 1973, the intricate design features would still likely feature in unique designs in the 21st century.

sydney opera house

A guided tour around the interior of this structure is equally worthwhile, and if you are fortunate to be in Sydney and can catch a live event, this is a definitely a bucket list experience you will likely cherish forever.

sydney opera house

Sydney Harbour Bridge

While admiring the Sydney Opera House, your eyes will likely wander to another of the city’s iconic structures – that towering Sydney Harbour Bridge that connects the central business district to the North Shore. Standing at 440 feet above the Sydney Harbour, this architectural masterpiece alongside the Opera House creates one of the most distinctive panoramic landscapes across the globe.

sydney harbour bridge

Take a stroll across the bridge from the Bridge Stairs in The Rocks and finishing at the Bridge Stairs in Milsons Point. Spectacular views of Sydney’s skyline, the Harbour, and beyond, are the perfect tonic to ensure visitors that endure the 1.5km walk are rewarded with a collection of epic memories.

However, for those looking to add a little more adventure to their visit, why not climb to the summit and experience the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. This once-in-a-lifetime experience is for locals and visitors alike, and offers perhaps the most exhilarating views anywhere in Australia. It may not be everyone’s idea of a fun-filled adventure, but it’s one of those experiences you will never forget.

sydney harbour bridge

Darling Harbour

The Darling Harbour area of Sydney is one of the best places to go to sample a collection of restaurants, attractions and especially if you want to enjoy a little retail therapy. Some of the iconic attractions worth visiting here include the National Maritime Museum and the Chinese Garden of Friendship.

Native Australian animals can be seen at the WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo and SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, and despite easily being able to spend all 48 hours in this part of the city, you will at least want to visit here during the evening hours to really take advantage of the great nightlife on offer.

darling harbour

Imagine grabbing a glass of your favorite Australian wine while indulging in decadent cuisine from one of the plethora of local restaurants scattered throughout Darling Harbour, while admiring the panoramic river views and beyond.

From traditional Indian cuisine at Zaaffran to freshly prepared pasta at Spago, you will not be surprised by the eclectic global menus on offer throughout this neighborhood. Planar Restaurant offers authentic Australian dishes but it’s perhaps The Watershed Hotel that offers the most popular spot among visitors because of the gorgeous views overlooking Cockle Bay.

Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

Sydney’s equivalent to Central Park in New York City and Hyde Park in London is equally spectacular, and certainly a spot where locals and visitors alike choose to mingle and relax away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney offers a 30-hectare urban green space that is perfect for relaxation or if you are looking to increase your exercise levels during your visit to the city.

royal botanic garden

This tranquil oasis on the edge of Sydney Harbour is home to over 9,000 plant species and has a rich Aboriginal history associated with it that visitors can learn more about during a 90-minute guided tour. Learn all about traditional plant uses along with sampling stereotypical bush cuisine. For those that don’t have the time to venture into the Outback, this short tour is worthwhile to capture a glimpse of what stereotypical Aboriginal life was like throughout history.

The views of the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour and skyline also provide the perfect oasis for visitors to grab their favorite book, a picnic and simply allow time to pass by as you admire those breathtaking sights. A 48-hour visit to Sydney may sound like a whirlwind trip, but don’t forget to allocate some time to enjoy this relaxing haven before venturing out to explore more of the city.

Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair

One of Sydney’s rather unique attractions is a bench commissioned by former Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1810 for his wife, Elizabeth. This monument known as Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair was carved out of a sandstone rock overlooking Sydney Harbour.

The beauty of this landmark isn’t such much about the detail of the sculpture, but it’s the perfect location that allows photographers the opportunity to capture a photogenic scene of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge in a single frame. It’s no surprise that Elizabeth found this to be the perfect spot to admire the breathtaking panoramic scenery across Sydney, and visitors today can enjoy equally amazing views.

Visitors to the Royal Botanic Garden should head just north of this urban green space and stumble across Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair. Take a stroll along Mrs. Macquarie’s Bushland Walk from the Botanical Garden and you will arrive at this distinctive landmark.

Best Places to Eat in Sydney

Sydney is a melting pot for food lovers who want to experience a diverse array of local and global dishes throughout their visit. Whether you are intrigued by the prospect of sampling authentic Australian cuisine, or perhaps you want to indulge in amazing dishes from around the world, there are a plethora of restaurants ready to capture your imagination.

Let’s start with the most important meal of the day – breakfast. Joe Black Cafe is a great spot to grab a coffee to kickstart your day, while you may also be intrigued by the idea of sampling the “Stormin Norman” dish which is diced Spanish onions, cherry tomatoes, avocado mash, and onsen poached eggs all served on sourdough toast. If you are looking to sample breakfast dishes with a twist, this is definitely the place to go.

Head over to the Rocks area of Sydney for lunch to sample Harts Pub and enjoy a cozy atmosphere, relaxed ambience and a diverse menu offering pub style cuisine. If you prefer a lighter option, Bread & Fill is a delicious eatery in the Circular Quay area offering a wide collection of salads and sandwiches that are freshly prepared every day.

shrimp seafood

Dinner options are endless throughout Sydney and as per the earlier recommendation, heading over to Darling Harbour will offer an abundance of diverse restaurants. Dependent on budget, cuisine preference and style will likely determine where you choose to visit, but one of the best spots is Botswana Butchery, albeit an import from nearby New Zealand. For the seafood lovers, head to Saint Peter to enjoy creative concoctions by Chef Josh Niland.