The island of Sao Miguel also known as the “green island” is a nature lover paradise with countless outdoor activities from the land, air, and sea available for you and your family to enjoy. The 9 Azores islands are not just for adults or the seasoned traveler anymore but increasingly are becoming the perfect destination for an adventurous family trip to the westernmost region of the Euro-zone. The island of Sao Miguel is the largest of the 9 islands, with a population of 140,000 residents and it is here where the old world meets the new world; with a delicate balance between historical preservation and modernization. In fact, it is one of the reasons why when the great American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was helping to create the United Nations after the second world war he initially suggested the Azores for their headquarters instead of Geneva for that very reason. As a young man, President Roosevelt had visited the island of Sao Miguel, and is said he kept a postcard from the island on his desk as a reminder of its beauty. This is a place that you can feel safe to travel with your family and young children and do not have to worry about the crime that sometimes plagues some other larger, European cities. Here the cobblestone streets and fresh ocean air meet the charm of old-world Europe with a modern flair in this mid-Atlantic island oasis. The island is a colorful, unique, agricultural beacon in the Atlantic with the beaches on the island all very safe and has a lifeguard on duty during the summer months. It is advised that the use of a water flotation device for young children is recommended especially if they have not swum in the Atlantic ocean before. A great alternative to swimming in the ocean is taking advantage of the many natural lava stone pools and man-made ocean pools that dot the rugged island coastlines which are open year-round and are free of charge in most cases like in Caloura or Maia. Here in Ribeira Grande county at Santa Barbara beach, there is a dedicated small oceanfront public facility where there are water slides, diving boards, and lots of other children both local and tourists from abroad enjoying the breathtaking views and a choice of pools or the Atlantic ocean to choose from. The price is only a couple of euros for admittance and it is recommended that you bring your own towels, sunscreen, etc.. If going on a hiking or walking tour through the island that is something that interests you then here on the island of Sao Miguel you are in luck. The island offers some of the most beautiful and unique trails through every type of terrain possible making it an ideal place to wander through and explore the flora and fauna of this isolated region. The government of the Azores has invested plenty of resources into making available some of the most isolated and underappreciated sites on the islands to be accessible through ecofriendly unpaved trails. There are over 50 trails that lead through forests, valleys, pastures, beaches, and of course through the peeks of the Azorean hillsides that feel sometimes like mountains. A popular hiking trail is the one that exists at the famous Portuguese tea plantation Cha Gorreana; located in Maia in the county of Ribeira Grande. Here you can start your trail at the famous 19th-century plantation while admiring the miles of manicured tea fields that adorn the mountainous hillsides here at the Cha Gorreana tea estate. Of course, no trip to Cha Gorreana would be complete without making your way into the historical factory and gift shop which was built in the 1800’s opening into a full tea plantation in 1883, and remains the only place in Europe that grows this prized green tea. The factory still operates with a majority of the same machinery that carries with it a very interesting story of how the tea plantation is powered hydroelectrically through the waterfall and stream that runs through the estate. The Parque Atlantico mall is a western alternative and has a movie theatre with movies playing in English with Portuguese subtitles, so if a matinée to see your favorite new release is what you desire the option is there. The mall has all the luxuries of any western mall with a food court and many North American and European shops to cater to the local fashionista. However, the island of Sao Miguel has so many other unique family-owned shops and restaurants scattered throughout the island that if there is anything you may need or want you are sure to find it in a local shop, which also helps keep this small family business going in an otherwise changing big box store world.