1st Choice Blog
Here are seven of the country's best bike paths:
1. Monterey Bay Coastal Trail, California
Running from Pacific Grove to Castroville, this 18-mile oceanside path takes riders past Cannery Row, Fisherman's Wharf, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, among other must-see sites. Spot local wildlife as you ride: seals, sea otters, sea lions, shorebirds, even whales.
2. Acadia National Park Carriage Roads, Maine
Forty-five miles of packed gravel roads crisscross this seaside national park, offering views of the glittering Atlantic, mountain ranges, forests, and more. The free Island Explorer shuttle (exploreacadia.com) takes riders to Eagle Lake carriage road, a family-friendly six-mile loop.
Rentals: Acadia Bike (acadiabike.com); Bar Harbor Bicycle Shop (barharborbike.com)
Park admission: $20 per vehicle
3. Chicago Lakefront Trail, Illinois
Get a new perspective on the Windy City from this 18-mile route winding along Lake Michigan. As you glide past beaches, soccer fields, and playgrounds, you might be tempted to exit for Navy Pier, the Museum of Science and Industry, or one of the snack and ice cream stands.
Rentals: Bike and Roll Chicago (bikechicago.com); Bobby's Bike Hike - Chicago (bobbysbikehike.com)
4. Cherry Creek Bike Trail, Colorado
Follow tree-lined Cherry Creek through downtown Denver to Franktown. Need a break? Stop at creekside pull-offs where kids can dip their feet in the water; the Cherry Creek Shopping District; or Four Mile Historic Park, a homestead that showcases the life of the area's early pioneers (fourmilehistoric park.org).
5. Pinellas Trail, Florida
This award-winning path offers a flat, scenic ride from Tarpon Springs to the St. Petersburg waterfront. Trailside diversions include outdoor art, inviting neighborhoods and shopping centers, picnic spots, and nature areas, such as Honeymoon Island State Park (floridastateparks.org).
6. Lehigh Gorge State Park Trail, Pennsylvania
A former rail line, this wide, shale path follows the Lehigh River for 25 miles from White Haven to Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, past dramatic views and waterfalls. Shuttles carry riders to trailheads for a gentle downhill ride back to town.
Rentals and shuttles: Blue Mountain Sports (bikejimthorpe.com)
7. Little Miami Scenic Trail, Ohio
Part of the statewide Ohio to Erie Trail, this route stretches for more than 70 miles from Springfield to the outskirts of Cincinnati. Sections of the trail parallel the Little Miami Scenic River, a popular canoeing area; others take riders through bike-friendly Corwin and Oregonia, home to Fort Ancient (fortancient.org).
Rentals: Loveland Bike Rental (lovelandbikerental. com)
By Jodi Butler from FamilyFun
Business travelers opt for homier digs on the road
(CNN) -- There are many luxurious amenities a business traveler enjoys while sleeping on the road: fluffy beds, room service, decked-out fitness centers and concierges.
These amenities make traveling more comfortable. But when it comes down to it, take it from Dorothy: There's no place like home.
Some business travelers say they prefer staying in furnished vacation rentals, corporate housing and inns versus hotels, particularly for lengthier stays.
That's not just because alternative accommodations usually come with more space, free Wi-Fi, free laundry facilities and free parking, but doing so helps battle the lonesome blues while offering homey and off-the-beaten-path experiences.
"Living in hotels can be very depressing," says Mark Mule, a traveling pit orchestra musician who is usually on the road for weeks or months at a time. "Corporate and vacation rentals are homes. This is good for your head."
The convenience of paying one price for furniture, housewares, amenities and utilities is attractive to business travelers, says Amanda Cook, director of membership and marketing for the Corporate Housing Providers Association. "Corporate housing is ... specific to [clients'] unique needs and reduces stress for the user, which in turn makes them more productive at their jobs," Cook says.
Saving money and hatred for nickel-and-diming are many travelers' motivations for booking alternative lodging.
Other travelers seek more control over their routines.
"I almost exclusively stay in places I find through corporate housing services," says grant writer and frequent business traveler Ron Flavin. "The reason I do this is to stay fit. Staying in an apartment with a kitchen makes it easy for me to prepare healthy meals as well as keep up my exercise schedule utilizing the amenities of the properties."