This Weekend: Montreal Jazz Festival kicks off
It wouldn't be summer without jazz festivals, and Montreal’s is one of the best and biggest. More than 3,000 musicians—among them, Ravi Coltrane, Leonard Cohen, and Steely Dan—will perform at the 29th annual festival, from June 26 to July 6.
There are hundreds of free outdoor shows on 10 stages, and more than 150 shows lined up for the indoor concert series (tickets range from $12 to $140).
The festival, held in downtown Montreal, is dedicated this year to the late Oscar Peterson, a jazz piano legend. There are two debuts of note: Woody Allen, with his New Orleans Jazz Band, and Aretha Franklin, whose shows are sold out.
Interested in going? There are still hotel packages available.
Dubai: What a desert safari is like
When I made plans to visit my parents in the Middle East, I picked up a February 2007 issue of Budget Travel to read its feature on Dubai ("Just Add Money"). The writer claimed that the country’s popular desert safaris were…well…lame. But I wanted to do one anyway. Aside from lizards and camels, you won’t see many animals. In essence, a desert safari involves a jeep drive through enormous mounds of sand (called "dune-bashing"), and a stop at a campsite where you’ll have the opportunity to ride camels, get henna tattoos and be entertained by a belly dancer during dinner. The real draws are the ride and subsequent view. When we got in the car, our driver and guide from Desert Link (011-971/4-283-0504, desertlinkdubai.com) advised us to fasten our seatbelts. As we started barreling through the dunes, at points on the brink of teetering over, Jasim sat sans seatbelt, fiddling with the radio. A guy in our jeep dubbed him "the Master" as he fearlessly drove us through peaks and valleys. Around us, there were miles of sleek fiery orange hills, only crumpled by the tracks of our predecessors. It was thrilling, albeit slightly dangerous. After about 20 minutes, our pack of eight jeeps stopped to watch the sunset. A group of American college kids had brought snowboards and immediately started jetting down the dunes. I knew the $60 was worth it. Desert Link runs half-day and overnight safaris, but the half-day is more than enough time; you’ll even get to stargaze after dinner. Other operators include Net Tours (011-971/4-266-8661, nettoursdubai.com) and Orient Tours (011-971/4-282-8238, orienttours.co.ae). HAVE A COOL TRIP JOURNAL STORY OF YOUR OWN? Share your story and photos or video by creating a MyBudgetTravel account.
This Weekend: A new park in Washington State
Cama Beach State Park on Camano Island, about a 90-minute drive from Seattle, will open this Saturday. The 433-acre area is the first state park in Washington in more than a decade. The entire project took 18 years and $35 million; the land was once used for logging and was a fishing resort for about 50 years. In addition to typical activities—picnicking, hiking, and fishing— the newest attraction the park is offering is overnight accommodations in 31 restored cabins along the waterfront. The experience is straight out of 1930s, at the height of the resort's popularity. Think small, quaint porches, rocking chairs, and handmade quilts. The park opening has caused such a stir that the cabins are booked through October. The opening will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 21, and is free to the public. The park is located at 1880 S. West Camano Drive, Camano Island. For information or reservations, call 360/387-1550.
This Weekend: Pause for the Pledge of Allegiance
Dig out your American flag and fly it high this weekend; Saturday is Flag Day. To celebrate, Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Md., is holding the 29th annual National Pause for the Pledge of Allegiance. At 7 p.m. ET, organizers ask that you put down your hot dog, take off your hat, and say the pledge. Fort McHenry will celebrate with singing and dancing performances, speeches, and a wreath-placing memorial. And cap off the evening with another great American tradition: fireworks. Entrance fees to the park are $7 for adults; kids are free. (nps.gov/fomc) For other things to do this weekend, see our Family Travel ideas.
Where's your family headed?
School's out, the weather's warmed up, the pool's open—it must be summer. Families will head in droves to Orlando, the Grand Canyon, a national park, or the beach. Is your family headed to one of these tried-and-true destinations, or is this your year to do something different? In short: What are your family's travel plans this summer? Just back? Share your family story with us at my Budget Travel, like user amyem, who wrote about her whirlwind trip to London and Paris with her three kids—including her four-year-old!