I was super excited to see when reading through the reader survey responses so far that so many of you are interested in more travel posts! I absolutely love traveling (scope out #tsotravels) and have a few trips in the works this year after traveling less last year while I was pregnant. As luck would have it, I was already planning on writing today’s post, sharing my top 5 favorite vacation spots so I decided to bump it up in the schedule. Vacation destinations! Specifically, my favorite places in the U.S. to visit. But I’m not talking about the big major cities or the super hyped up places. So, no, I’m not going to talk about New York or LA or Chicago, even though I love all of those cities. Instead, we’re talking about the places that shocked me with their beauty and have prompted repeat visits and promises to go as many times as I can in my lifetime. For me, that’s what traveling is about! Discovering the hidden gems, falling in love with some far off place and not quite being able to shake it once you get back home. These places are just that for me! Click through for my favorites and chime in with yours so I can plan a trip!
[Photos by Melissa Schollaert | See more from Entouriste]
Charleston, South Carolina
One of my bestest bests (Erika) relocated back to Charleston a few years ago following a decade long stint in San Diego, which is when my love affair with Charleston began. I had always wanted to visit and kind of assumed I’d love it there, but basically I had no clue. It is a seriously gorgeous place and it is ripe with culture. Charleston is both a history buff’s dreamland, an architecture lover’s utopia and a foodie’s paradise. The food is on pointe everywhere you go, plus the city is not only stunning, but it is also super walkable with loads of amazing museums, galleries, cafés, bakeries, shops, boutiques and restaurants on every corner. It’s also just a short drive to some pretty incredible beaches and marshes if you’re feeling like a more outdoorsy adventure or if you just feel like lounging with your toes in the sand.
The Quick Pick Charleston Travel Guide
- Start the day at Black Tap Coffee
- Grab lunch at Butcher & Bee
- Visit Husk or Edmund’s Oast for dinner
- Stroll along the shops of historic King Street
- Get something sweet at Sugar Bakeshop
- Pop into Mac & Murphy for a little shopping
- Buy all the cheese at Goat Sheep Cow
- Drive out to the beach on Kiawah Island
- Take a ton of photos at Angel Oak Tree
[Photos by Danielle Aquiline | See more at Entouriste]
Key West, Florida
Bob and I first visited Key West last spring (you can see a bunch of our photos with the hashtag #tsotravels.) and unexpectedly fell right in love. I am actually going to be returning in May for my sister’s bachelorette weekend and I honestly can’t wait! (I’m only bummed that B won’t be joining me this time.) Key West is a bit quirky (don’t be surprised by the countless roosters running all over town…or the occasional naked person for that matter), but also a lot gorgeous with streets lined with quaint, colorful little houses with wide front porches. If you want a laid back beach vibe, Key West is your game. If you want a party all night, spring break vibe, Key West is your game. If flip flops and a breezy maxi dress are your idea of black tie, Key West is your game. As the southernmost point in the continental United States, Key West is a bit of a hike from the nearest major airport (Miami), but the stunning drive and the unmistakeable Cuban/Caribbean vibe is worth the effort.
The Quick Pick Key West Travel Guide
- Kick things off with coffee at Cuban Coffee Queen
- Do not miss breakfast at Blue Heaven
- Grab happy hour drinks at Irish Kevin’s
- Fill up your belly at Amigo’s Tortilla Bar
- Pay a visit to the iconic Sloppy Joe’s
- Cool down with ice cream at Flamingo Crossing
- Make it to Mallory Square for the sunset celebration
- Feed your late night cravings at Kojin Noodle Bar
[Photos by Cyd Converse | See more of my Montana trip here and here.]
If you’ve heard me talk about my trip to Montana a couple of years ago, you know that this trip changed me. I had always been vaguely interested in going to Montana at some point, but when the opportunity came, I wisely jumped on it and packed my bags. To this day, I believe I left a little piece of my heart in Big Sky Country. We stayed at The Resort at Paws Up, which is a luxury resort on a massive active ranch. You can stay in the most incredible log cabins or “rough” it in luxury tents complete with big copper soaking tubs. Your pick! The food, the spa treatments and the service were enviable, but they paled in comparison to Mother Nature in all of her glory. (Read: If a luxury stay on an incredible ranch isn’t in your budget, you still need to make it to Montana!) Next time I’m back in Montana (which I honestly hope is sooner rather than later), Glacier National Park is on the top of my list!
The Quick Pick Paws Up Travel Guide
- Sleep in a luxury tent (you’ve never “camped” like this!)
- Get a hot stone massage at the spa
- Start your morning with a yoga class
- Go on a guided horseback trail ride across the ranch
- Take a hot air balloon ride for the most amazing scenes you’ll ever see
- Have drinks and apps for dinner at Tank
- Spend a day or two at Glacier National Park
Bar Harbor, Maine
I first decided I wanted to visit Bar Harbor because I read about someone’s trip on their blog. (Unfortunately, I can’t remember who now!) That was back in 2008 and I planned a trip and made my voyage the following year. Again, it was one of those places I thought I’d really enjoy seeing and exploring, but I was outdone by the beauty of this place. Bar Harbor is a pretty little town on a harbor on the Atlantic. The rocky, pink granite coastlines are incredible, the sea kayaking is out of this world, the sunrises are unparalleled and the blueberry concoctions (ice cream, pie, pastries, cookies and beer galore) are rivaled only by an abundance of the world’s freshest, most delicious lobster everywhere you turn. The town isn’t overly commercialized in the way a lot of tourist destinations are and it sits right at the base of Cadillac Mountain, which is the pièce de résistance of Acadia National Park. (Oh, and if you’re wondering if this trip is when my obsession with National Parks began, you would be correct.)
The Quick Pick Bar Harbor Travel Guide
- Visit Acadia National Park and summit Cadillac Mountain
- Grab lobster rolls and eat on the Village Green
- Have popovers and tea at Jordan Pond House
- Do a tasting and lunch at Atlantic Brewing Company
- Snag treats for man’s best friend at Bark Harbor
- Catch pizza and a movie at Reel Pizza Cinerama
- Stop into the Thirsty Whale Tavern for a pint
- Eat all the lobster at Stewman’s Downtown Lobster Pound
- Take a sunset cruise aboard the Margaret Todd
[Photos from Hej Doll (and here) | Bottom photo by Art Jonak]
Salt Lake City, Utah
Admittedly, I only ever ended up in Salt Lake City because of Alt Summit. I’m not sure it would have ever been on my radar in any real sense otherwise! That said, flying into Salt Lake is a pretty breathtaking experience and once you’ve landed, I’ve seen nothing like it in the world. A smaller sized city carved out into a basin in the Rockies, you walk down the streets surrounded by 360° views of the mountains all around. The people are some of the nicest I have ever met (sincerely) and there are loads of great places to eat. Plus! You’re a fairly short drive to Park City where you can ski if that’s your thing or, if you time it right, you can catch the Sundance Film Festival. I’ve been to Salt Lake three or four times now and I absolutely think it’s underrated as a pretty spectacular travel destination. Admittedly, I’ve spent most of my time in Salt Lake holed up in a hotel for a conference so I’m by no means an expert other than to say, yes, it is worth the trip!
The Quick Pick Salt Lake City Travel Guide
- Splurge and stay at The Grand America (the fanciest place I’ve ever stayed – that’s the pool above!)
- Get something sweet at Les Madeleines Patisserie & Café
- Snag an awesome vegetarian meal at Sage Café
- Lounge around at the Salt Lake City Library
- Eat insanely good Italian at Fresco
- Drive up to Park City and do breakfast at The Eating Establishment
- Don’t miss grabbing coffee at Park City Coffee Roaster
- Spend the day shopping along Historic Main Street
- Or hit up the Sundance Film Festival
- Up for a longer driver? Several National Parks are within 4 – 6 hours of Salt Lake!
For More Travel Inspiration
For more travel ideas and inspiration, check out Entouriste! Ami is one of my BFFs and a massive travel junkie so while Entouriste is currently on hiatus, the archives are a treasure trove! You can also keep in touch in real time with my travels on Instagram with the hashtag #tsotravels – and don’t forget to dish on your favorite destinations in the comments. International, domestic, outdoorsy or luxury, I’m into all of it so lay it on me!
Saturday 11th of June 2016
Just found your lovely website through Pinterest & this post is great. I'm heading to Key West in October for my honeymoon and this has given me a few more ideas! Thank you!
Friday 25th of March 2016
I'm also heading to Key West in May! Fingers crossed it's the same weekend as you. Even though I grew up in Miami I've never been to Key West! I'm excited to check out your recommendations.
And that ranch in Montana is right up my alley! A lux ranch in Montanta is definitely on my bucket list!
Thursday 31st of March 2016
We are going to be there May 19 - 22, Sarah! Any chance that's when you're there?! I would be SO excited! We can totally have margaritas together in Key West!!!
Wednesday 23rd of March 2016
Now I MUST sleep in a luxury tent on a Montana ranch!
Thursday 24th of March 2016
Or any kind of tent in Montana, PJ! Seriously. The most incredible place on earth. Put it on your list! xoxo
Tuesday 22nd of March 2016
LOVE this!! I have always wanted to go to Charleston!
Monday 21st of March 2016
These places all look amazing!! And now are on my travel list!
Tuesday 22nd of March 2016
Can't recommend any of them highly enough, Bre! xoxo