Welcome to summer 2016!!! Who needs a vacation? ME, OVER HERE!!! From reading my previous post, ya’ll know travel is a part of my “journey to a better me”. I don’t know about you, but I get super excited when planning vacations because it’s a new adventure just waiting to happen. In fact, Depak Chopra gives 6 reasons why traveling offers necessary health benefits for your mind, body and soul: 1) promotes heart health, 2) keeps the mind sharp, 3) enhances creativity, 4) relives stress, 5) broadens your perspective and 6) increases connections to others! All good reasons to start planning your vacation now!
So I’ve done some research and found the best summer vacation destinations in the US and abroad! Some of these places I have had the pleasure of visiting and the others are on my bucket list!
2016 Best Affordable Destination in the USA
1. Savannah: I have heard great things about this quaint city, from its bustling music scene to its old world charm. With its Spanish moss, southern accents and mystifying graveyards, is a lot like Charleston, South Carolina. But this city with its eccentric streak stands on its own. Savannah College of Art and Design students add to the excitement of the city. The Southern-fried restaurants share street blocks with edgy cafes and restored theaters. I'm told the music scene is hard core (my boss's son plays in a traveling band here). This destination is definitely on my list.
2. Charleston: Another southern destination that you should checkout. Boasts innovative restaurants, interesting shops, contemporary art galleries and the world-class Spoleto Festival USA. When you're ready for a day at the beach, the city's got you covered there, too. There are several beach towns; including Sullivan's Island, Isle of Palm and Folly Beach that will offer up some much needed rest and relaxation. The gas lamp-lit streets at night, past horse-drawn carriages and the antebellum architecture, you just might think you've traveled back in time.
3. New Orleans: The “Big Easy”, is always a good time, during Mardi Gras or just a regular weekend. Drinking hurricanes, partying in the French Quarter, and eating beignets are on my list of things to do while I’m there. For a truly unique dining experience, Commander's Palace restaurant is a must and try the turtle soup! And you never know, you may just run across “Second Line”. NOLA is known for its European-style architecture, mouth-watering Creole cuisine and all-around mysticism. The music is at the helm: Jazz, blues, rock 'n' roll and Zydeco tunes fill the air of this one of a kind city.
4. Seattle: I hear its laid-back attitude and diverse neighborhoods more than make up for its consistently cloudy weather. Plus, it's home to some of the country's best coffee and a thriving arts scene, plenty of history, and culture. The city's favorite outdoor pursuits include kayaking, hiking and camping. If you're headed to the Emerald City and not up for strenuous outdoor activities, Seattle still offers plenty to do and see. Did I mention the art scene is bustling and if you are a beer connoisseur, you may want to check out one the city’s many breweries!
5. Chicago: I may be little bias, but if you have never been you need to go! One of the best cities in the world, hands down! America's third-largest city has been described in a myriad of ways throughout its lifetime. Chicago remains just as diverse, boasting a thriving arts scene, various shopping districts (Magnificent Mile) and a cornucopia of eateries. First-time Windy City visitors are sure to have their eyes to the sky for at least a day or two. Take in a baseball game (Cubs or Sox), jump on a Chicago Architecture Tour or pass a few hours in Millennium Park and you'll find yourself spending lots of time looking upward. For a different perspective, head to Willis Tower's Sky deck or 360 CHICAGO for the bird's-eye view before diving headfirst into all our city has to offer — from exceptional museums to pizza that takes delicious to whole new depths. We have lovely beaches on both the North side and South side of the city, as well as a breath taking lake front for your pleasure.
So that rounds out our stateside travel! Next up, my fav, international! Let’s go!
2016 Best Summer Vacation Destinations Abroad
6. Maui: Although Maui is technically a U.S. city, you aren’t necessarily abroad per se. But hey, you are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, come on! Maui is breath taking! Not nearly as busy as the Big Island, nor is it as small as Lanai, as bustling as Oahu or as quiet as Kauai (although I did enjoy Kauai's peacefulness). For many Hawaii vacationers, Maui is just right — offering a taste of just about everything the Aloha State has to offer, from impressive wildlife to intriguing history and culture. But the rest of the island should not be missed. You must rent a convertible, drive with the top down and travel along the Road to Hana to experience East Maui's scenic coastline, explore Haleakala — the world's largest dormant volcano. Make sure to try some “Poke” and plenty of Mai Tais!
7. Santorini: I’ve only seen pictures of this gorgeous city but I have to visit this place! As I understand it, the colorful beaches — the black and red sands make for a memorable visit. Indulging in the archaeological delights of their impressively preserved Ancient Akrotiri, or climb the ancient stairs that lead to the historic city of Manolas in Thirassia is a must! From there, catch a breathtaking view of the caldera, a brilliant turquoise pool of water. I would so swim in that water!
8. Fiji: So as I write this, I’m a little salty because the Besties and I were supposed to make this our vacation destination this year (rolling my eyes)! Anyway (with attitude in my voice), with its turquoise waters, glittering sands, and luxe resorts, Fiji is the perfect tropical get away for anyone (SO I HEAR)! Whether you are with your boo, on a GIRL’S TRIP or just seeking adventure, this island has it all. But Fiji differs from other sultry destinations in its otherworldliness. Ever tasted the dizzying kava drink? Or watched men defy fire and walk across scalding stones without burning their feet? I haven’t but I sure would like to!
9. Barcelona: Has both the authentically historic and the wildly bizarre. From the tree-lined Las Ramblas to the narrow alleys of Barri Gòtic; from the beachside nightclubs to the city's dozens of sacred churches and cathedrals, this city by the sea seems to caters to all types: the family, the adventurer, the couple, the backpacker, and the culture lover. Much like Rome, Italy, you'll need a whole week to explore this city. Much of the activity revolves around Las Ramblas, a series of narrow streets and alleys packed with restaurants, nightclubs and a vibrant pedestrian market. This is definitely on my calendar for 2017
10. Nice: Gorgeous but expensive, expensive and expensive! Bring your credit card, and you might want to up the limit (just sayin’) Ideal home base for a Riviera getaway – Cannes and Monaco are just a short train ride away. It’s recommended that you book at least three months in advance. This part of the French Riviera is the “hott” spot. You are sure to run into a handful of celebs while you are chillin’ on the beach. I hear the parties are OVER-THE-TOP, so rest up before you hit the Euro-chic and vibrant nightlife along the Riviera.
So these are my picks, what’s on your list?
Enjoy the Journey,