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Living near Seattle is such a treat. If you get the chance to visit, make sure you get some fresh donuts at the end of Pike's Place Market! They are absolutely wonderful. If you can find a place that serves felafel, try it -- it's surprisingly good!
Syracuse is a very upbeat, small city with lots of young entrepreneur energy and vision. There a great potential here for innovative city-center redevelopment and interaction with the many colleges and universities nearby.
Visit Sacramento -- it's a tranquil place. I suggest enjoying a delicious coffee in the naked lounge -- it's great!
I've been to a lot of beach towns, but Myrtle Beach is one of the best for the younger crowd. Everyone is friendly and people actually talk to other people, unlike most beaches.
Eugene is a great city, filled with personality. The hippy-ness gets to me a little sometimes, but other than that, I have a wonderful time in Eugene.
Kauai is packed with adventures and it's easy to fall in love with the scenery. It's a small island without much in the way of nightlife or shopping, so I recommend coming here for farm work or camping. I worked on a small farm in Kilauea it was beautiful but don't expect the bus to get you unless you are in a very well traveled area, instead hitchhiking works fine. You are going to want to do the Kalalau trail for sure, it's intense and a bit intimidating. Make sure to give the trail plenty of time, you don't want to have to rush out from poor planning. I think Kauai isn't the best for clear waters of snorkeling or surfing, but hiking is your best bet. The many local farmers markets make cheap and healthy eating easy.
The bus station is very near the airport just west of downtown. The Amtrak however pulls up to a spitoon in the middle of a tiny Native American reserve town half-an-hour out of town. This year in Late September, it's still over 100 degrees F every day. Tempe is probably a more interesting place for 20 somethings to hang out. Phoenix metro is very spread out but there are good desert hikes sprinkled throughout the neighborhoods. Just look for big hills and you're likely to find a trailhead. Phoenix is a hotbed for bar culture and you'll not be want for great happening friendly venues no matter your persuasion. September is also a good time to hit town and score a resort job. Apartments are cheap (compared to LA NY or SF for instance) and roomate situations are plenty. Aparently the one available hostel begs an alternative. If you have a car the 'burbs have $2-$3 second run movie houses. Some communities have cheap-to-get-in community pools but they may not be open all year…
I grew up 8 miles south of Dawson in what was once the El Dorado community. We owned a 241 acre blackland farm. One can see "Tehuacana Hill" from my old farm. The bluebonnets are spectacular in the spring there!
Petersburg itself is a real gem, if only because it has not been ruined by the hordes of suspicious day trippers that the cruise ships disgorge, ruining Juneau, Sitka, and other places. Petersburg retains its isolated, small town feel and is surprisingly Scandinavian, even today.
Stay out of West Baltimore.
Albuquerque doesn't have much going for it except for the area called Nob Hill around the U of New Mexico. A funky, hip enclave of intreresting stores, restaurants and galleries.
I lived in Fort Stockton for six years. It's not a very nice place to live, but there are some interesting things to visit. The "world's largest roadrunner" welcomes you to town. Be sure and stop by the Comanche Springs pool. (It's much nicer than the regular city pool.) Also, if you are looking for great authentic Mexican food, try a little place called Mi Casita. Bienvenidos is another good one, more on the main road, but not nearly as good as Mi Casita. There are also several nice parks in town, as well as an historic fort, and several small museums.
I've been to Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. Los Angeles is good if you want to experience "Hollywood". Other than that, if you want to experience social beaches I would head to San Diego. If you want a really great city experience, nothing beats San Francisco. There is a lot to do in Los Angeles but be careful because places like ritzy Beverly Hills will very quickly go into some of LA's very ghetto destricts. Same with Hollywood -- past the main touristy area, the town becomes very ghetto. My experience is nothing feels quite as scary as downtown Los Angles at night. By all costs, stay clear of South Central. Venice is an interesting place and so is Santa Monica for some classic social, if not eclectic, culture. Traffic's horrible. Air is terrible. Hey, it's Los Angeles.
This was a fantastic place, loved the waterfall. Tour was really good, even swimming in the mangroves. I got to see a lot of wildlife -- apparently unusual for this time of year. I recommend the Everglades as a place to stay but you will need a car or hook up with friendly people.
Seward is a nice little town. The hike at Hardings ice field is a damn good day hike. Reasonably strenuous and we saw a bear and 2 cubs. We had a great lunch at Harbour Dinner Club. Surprisingly, sea food is expensive in Alaska. Expect to pay $20 per head. Another thing to do in Seward is the resurrection Bay Cruise. We went all the up to the Aialik Glacier. Lots of wildlife enroute... bald eagles, puffins, killer whales (we saw about 20!), humpback, lots of other birds, and also sea lions... many :).
If you are only going to be visiting San Francisco I would advise that you stay in San Francisco. Being in Oakland and having to travel to San Francisco would take an hour or more. Also if you go out at night in the city you would not have to worry about making it back to Oakland.
I lived in Austin for nine years. Austin is very cool, except that it's so darned hot in the summer. Check out Barton Springs pool in Zilker park, an enormous spring-fed pool, always seventy degrees, perfect for a scorching day. A music reviewer for the Austin paper once wrote "Who's playing this weekend? Ho, hum, the usual embarassment of riches." No kidding. You can find live music any night of the week. Halloween in Austin is a sight to behold, thousands of people partying downtown.
Beware of "work trade" scams on Maui . A "work trade" on Maui typically is labor, babysitting, housecleaning, or other job (like at a hostel or private residences) in exchange for a room. I was on Maui for 6 months: For 3 months, I babysat at a hostel for the owners' child, gave the child daily art lessons, worked in the garden with the child, and did part-time managing at the hostel. I got ripped off by the hostel's owners for one month's worth of managing work I did at this hostel. They didn't want me to leave (they wanted to keep me as a "serf") so they took 3 days to return to me my passport & car title that they kept for me in their locked safe that they have for their guests' valuables. In 6 months, I met dozens of people who got lied to and/or riped off by various "work trade" employers. If you are a US citizen, demand minimum wage, a work contract in writing, and get a receipt for your rent paid or for the amount of hours you worked when rent is due. Don't rent a room…
Arches National Park was full of wonderful sights. The La Sal Mountains are gorgeous!! I love Moab and will come back there someday.
Gainesville is mostly a college town, so if you're there you're probably there to do something related to the university, such as going to a game.


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