Writer: Hayley Kirksey
THE TROPICAL ADVENTURE
Mexicos hidden gem of Sayulita is a charming little beach town surrounded by the jungle, just 25 miles north of the more popular city Puerto Vallarta. Often referred to as the crown jewel of the region Riviera Nayarit, Sayulita is home to expats and locals alike, with a vacation reputation spreading rapidly. Try to visit sooner than later, while the community maintains its small town charm. The town center combines a variety of authentic Mexican food, international cuisine, trendy boutiques and unique souvenir shops. The cobblestone streets are loaded with colorful murals and brightly painted doors, providing enviable photoshoot backdrops.
Just a few miles off the coast lies the Marietas Islands, a must-do day trip excursion. The small volcanic islands are world-famous for the hidden beach, only accessible by a forty-foot swim tunnel. But do not worry, you will not have to hold your breath, as there are several feet of air between the surface and the cave wall (beware, claustrophobes!). Charter one of the many sailboat tours to reach the islands (some offering lunch and drinks, others focused on eco-sports cruise).
If you want to escape the crowds, venture down to the isolated but beautiful Playa Carricitos. This secluded beach is less than hour hike from downtown Sayulita along a jungle trail that leads you directly to the essentially untouched and rugged beach. Be sure to pack water and snacks, as there are not any facilities nearby. Swim with caution; Carricitos waves are notoriously powerful, and there are no lifeguards!
Turks and Caicos Islands
THE SCENIC CARIBBEAN PARADISE
The Turks and Caicos islands comprised of an archipelago of forty islands, only nine of which are inhibited. This slice of Caribbean heaven is a popular vacation spot for Hollywood, with Kylie Jenner and clan celebrating her 19th birthday there along with Kendall and the Hadid sisters. The claim to fame for Turks and Caicos is Grace Bay Beach, routinely voted as the Worlds Best Beach. This seven-mile long stretch of pristine white sands is sprinkled with luxury resorts on the island Providenciales. It is the perfect place to soak up the sun and lounge peacefully.
After admiring the incredible turquoise waters from land, it is time to dive in and explore beneath the surface. The worlds third largest barrier reef in the world hugs the Turks and Caicos islands. The most accessible is Smiths Reef (on the edge of Grace Bay Beach) for world-class snorkeling alongside tropical fish, rainbow colored coral and sea turtles.
If you are interested in a bit of history, the Turks & Caicos National Museum on Grand Turk Island is worth a pitstop. Notable exhibits include shipwrecks from the 16th century and a collection of genuine messages in a bottle that floated to shore. The gift shop includes local seaglass jewelry for the perfect souvenir to bring home a slice of the island life.
THE POSH NIGHTLIFE SCENE
Miami is the place to party! Between the private beach cabanas, rooftop lounges and glitzy nightclubs, it is no wonder The Magic City is a hotspot for celebrities and influencers. South Beach is the most popular neighborhood for world-class nightlife and the two-mile long white sand beach alongside five-star resorts.
South Beach is also home to the Art Deco Historic District, a neighborhood of buildings from the 1920- 1940s with a variety of architectural styles. The pastel colors, sleek chrome and overall retro-fabulous style is sure to catch your eye during the day, and the illuminating neon signs by night. Admire the ultimate elegance at the exceptional Versace Mansion (former home to the late Gianni Versace) now known as The Villa Casa Casuarina in the heart of the Art Deco District.
Miami is particularly unique for its juxtaposition of historical structures, side by side with cutting-edge design. The Miami Design District is a creative neighborhood devoted to innovative fashion, design, art, architecture and dining. Indulge in the range of high-end shops including Christian Louboutin, Dior, Givenchy, among many more. Revel in the fine art galleries and museums and get inspired at the numerous home design showrooms. Take a break at a yoga studio, cafe, salon or get pampered in a spa. The design district has all things lush to offer. Stop by on a Wednesday evening and discover The Market with over forty vendors and live entertainment.
Santa Barbara, California
THE CLASSIC CALIFORNIAN GETAWAY
With its Mediterranean-style architecture, year-round pleasant weather and the luscious green hillside bordering the shoreline, Santa Barbara is aptly nicknamed the American Riviera. This central California city is extraordinarily scenic whether you are on land or sea, upon the merging of the Santa Ynez mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Soak up the vitamin sea while kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding or taking a surf lesson. Join in the iconic beach volleyball on East Beach, or rent a beach cruiser and wander along the sidewalk promenade of Cabrillo Boulevard.
Along State Street, downtown Santa Barbara has everything to offer and more: name brand shops, petite boutiques, locally-owned eateries, delicious cafes and entertaining bars. On the ocean-side edge of downtown lies The Funk Zone, and up-and-coming artistic neighborhood. The Funk Zone boasts over twenty tasting rooms (both wine and craft beer), fourteen art galleries, and a handful of distilleries in an eclectic mix of renovated warehouses and industrial buildings.
Take a couple hours to admire the Santa Barbara Mission, a historical and cultural landmark just a few blocks above downtown, dating back to 1786. Donate a few dollars for a self-guided tour inside, or simply enjoy the exterior and plan a picnic in the incredibly photogenic lawn. It is an official California State Historical Landmark and well worth a few photos!
Palm Springs, California
THE RETRO-FAB DESERT OASIS
Palm Springs has been a trendy vacation destination since the 1950s charming Hollywoods elite, drawing crowds decades before the festival masses! Palm Springs boasts 350 days of sunshine each year, with temperatures pushing 100 in the summer. Spring is by far the best time to visit and enjoy a comfortable heat.
The sun-drenched desert town flaunts a relaxed lifestyle, the perfect place to kickback by the pool and keep cool. Several of the resorts host pool parties, complete with live DJs and delicious cocktails. Once the sun sets, check out Village Fest every Thursday in downtown Palm Springs from 6-10pm with over 180 vendors, entertainers, artists and artisans selling unique arts and crafts.
If you want to connect with nature, a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park is mandatory, Roughly an hour drive away, the park is the convergence of the Mojave and Colorado deserts, creating a beautiful but desolate desert landscape. With over twelve self-guided hiking trails to choose from, Key Views is a popular choice for the panoramic view over Coachella Valley.
Wailea, Maui, Hawaii
THE PLACE TO PAMPER, INDULGE & RELAX
Wailea is the epitome of Hawaiian luxury. The resort community is situated on the west coast of Maui nestled between beach towns Kihei and Makena. With a dozen remarkable hotels just steps from the Pacific ocean, this three-mile sweep of coast is impossible not to fall in love with. Happy hour is the classic Wailea pastime, with virtually every bar offering a sunset cocktail and pupus on discount. Ahi poke with a mai tai is an unbeatable combo!
A trip to the The Shops at Wailea is obligatory, with over seventy storefronts including gourmet restaurants, fine art galleries, Hawaiian boutiques and swanky shops like Gucci, Prada and Tiffany & Co. Enjoy weekly entertainment programs like hula dancing and ukulele performances in the open-air plaza.
Stroll the mile and a half walking path along the coast to grasp all that Wailea has to offer. Choose between Keawakapu Beach, Wailea Beach and Polo Beach to snorkel, SUP or just sunbathe. If pampering is your intention, you are in luck. The Grand Wailea offers Spa Grande, the largest spa in Hawaii with an extensive menu of massages, facial and bodycare treatments, guaranteed to leave you feeling renewed.
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